12 November 2021
Dear Members and Friends,
I want to take a minute to recognize and commend all those who played a part in the planning and execution of the Centennial of Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The significance of this undertaking cannot be overstated. I am in awe of how the planners pulled together the educational, visual, virtual and participation aspects of the celebration. It was so much more than a joint force ceremony. It not only provided opportunities for local, state and national involvement, it reached out and pulled in our long-time allies in Europe who played a major role 100 years ago and ever since.
I can’t possibly name all those who were involved but I know the following people were among those instrumental in the planning and execution – Regimental Commanding Officer COL Patrick Roddy – Former RCO COL (R) Jim Laufenberg – Former RCO and current TOGA Director COL (R) Joe Buche – Sentinel and DMOR SGM (R) Gavin McIlvenna. I know they worked on this for almost two years. I’m happy for them that it was a beautiful day in Arlington National Cemetery where the world was able to tune in and share in this important moment in history that apparently went off without a hitch.
This has to go down as one of The Old Guards’ very special moments. Congratulations to all who played a part!
Philip “Flip” Godfrey, President
As the Centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier arrives next week, we are pleased to be able to share another work of art that has been created especially for this celebration.
In honor of the 100th year anniversary of the founding of the Tomb, the Arlington, Virginia-based opera company UrbanArias has commissioned two outstanding Americans to create music and poetry for a new set of songs, called UNKNOWN. The touching and poignant poems are by Marcus Amaker, the Poet Laureate of Charleston, SC. The music is by the award-winning composer Shawn Okpebholo, the Vanguard Opera Composer at Chicago Opera Theater.
UrbanArias has joined forces with arts organizations from across the United States – including Opera Colorado, Opera Birmingham, The Dallas Opera, Minnesota Opera, and the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts – to create a spectacular and dramatic film of the world premiere performance of these songs. The film of UNKNOWN will premiere online on November 11, 2021, commemorating both Veterans Day and the centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and will be available free of charge for one month. Register to view the film at urbanarias.org
Watch a trailer for the film here:
Read Marcus Amaker’s poetry here:
Unknown Poems (urbanarias.org)
Read Shawn Okpebholo’s notes about writing Unknown here:
Those of you who will be attending the SHGTUS Reunion and Centenary activities the week of November 8-13 will have the chance to attend the film premiere screening. For more information, go to UNKNOWN Film Premiere Registration
Please spread the word among your networks of colleagues, family, and friends about this beautiful short film.
President & Public Affairs Chair
Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (SHGTUS)
“Soldiers never die until they are forgotten, Tomb Guards never forget”