Selection of the Unknown Soldier – October 24, 1921


On October 24, 1921, the Unknown Soldier of World War I was selected in Chalons-sur-Marne, France, about 90 miles east of Paris. The honor of selecting the Unknown Soldier was given to SGT Edward Younger, a veteran of World War I. Younger had been wounded twice in World War I and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his valor. Younger was one of six soldiers assigned to be pallbearers for the ceremony, but upon learning that the French used an enlisted soldier for their Unknown Soldier selection process, the task fell to Younger. The remains of four soldiers killed in World War I were exhumed from four American cemeteries in France (Romagne, Thiacourt, Belleau, and Bony) and brought to Chalons. Younger was instructed to lay a spray of white roses on the remains to be honored at Arlington National Cemetery.
The selected remains were transported to Le Havre the next day. At Le Havre, the honor guard placed the remains aboard the USS Olympia for the trip to Washington, DC.
Younger died in 1944 and was interred in Arlington National Cemetery (Section 18, Grave 1918-B). The USS Olympia is currently docked in Philadelphia, PA at the Independence Seaport Museum, where fundraising is underway for a restoration of the ship that first entered service in 1892.

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