Residents of St. Tammany visited a replica of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Veterans Plaza in Covington for three days in October to honor generations of military men and women. Among the visitors and special guests was Joseph Richard who, at just 16, witnessed the attack on Pearl Harbor and helped rescue men from the USS Arizona and USS Oklahoma.
“A Call to Honor: Replica of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier” was created by the Exchange Club in Rome, Georgia. It was built with the help of Arlington National Cemetery, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and the US Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment, the “Old Guard,” who guard the grave. Members of the Exchange Club were present throughout the event to talk about the history, meaning and traditions of the tomb and the selection process and requirements of the men and women chosen to guard the tomb. .
The October 12-14 replica tour was carried out to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the grave which permanently resides in Arlington National Cemetery, an event organized and sponsored by the three locals of the National Girls’ Society of the American Revolution – the Wharton, of Covington; the Pierre de Mandeville, from Mandeville; and St. Tammany, from Slidell.
The opening ceremony included a host of local and state government officials; members of local police and fire departments; active and retired military personnel; JROTC students from Northshore High School; the Slidell High School Orchestra; and representatives from the DAR, Sons of the American Revolution and Children of the American Revolution. Benton Thames of Ponchatoula was also present for three years. During the layover, various hereditary organizations, military and civilian, escorted by JROTC cadets from Covington and Lakeshore High Schools, laid wreaths or keepsakes. The St. Tammany Parish Public School System created a video of the event which can be viewed at www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNRadnxt_6o.