Honoring the Tomb of the Unknown through the Never Forget Garden


ROCHELLE — On Nov. 11, we observe the Commemoration of Veterans Day and the 100th Anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The legacy of Veterans Day was established to pay tribute to individuals who have served and sacrificed on behalf of the United States in times of war or armed conflict.

Each citizen of the United States has a responsibility to raise awareness of and respect for the national heritage of the United States and to encourage citizens to dedicate themselves to the values and principles for which those heroes of the United States died. Thus the intention of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was to represent more than just a single conflict, serving as a focal point for the United States regardless of race, creed, or politics where the people of the United States can come together as a single nation to mourn and honor the fallen soldiers from the United States.

The United States Army has provided Sentinels at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier since March 25, 1926, and maintained a constant 24-hour vigil since midnight July 2, 1937.

To commemorate the legacy of the Tomb of the Unknown, an initiative started in 2018 and promoted by the Society of the Honor Guard, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Never Forget Garden became a nationwide invitation to all Americans and freedom loving people to plant gardens as a visual way to represent America’s unwavering commitment to our sacred duty to recognize, remember, and honor our veterans and their families now and for many years to come.

There are many ways and traditions that are available to express patriotism, love, mourning and remembrance. A “Never Forget Garden” can provide an elegant expression of that which deeply resides in the heart of our fellow Americans: “I will Never, Ever Forget You — I am in it with you.” (From The Society of the Honor Guard, tomb guard.org)

Thus it was with gratitude the Woodlawn Cemetery Board accepted a Never Forget Garden plaque through the generosity of the Rochelle Area Chapter, NSDAR. This plaque and the small garden planter will be displayed at the cemetery’s veterans’ memorial.

When the request went forth 100 years ago to join the battle for freedom in World War I, many men from Ogle County answered the call; 38 of these WWI fallen are buried at Woodlawn. As the honor guard says, “Soldiers never die until they are forgotten, tomb guards never forget,” nor should we the citizens of Ogle County.

Additional information regarding the Never Forget Garden and the garden marker, may be found at the website, tombguard.org. For information about placing a Never Forget Garden Marker at your location, contact the Rochelle Chapter NSDAR at VIS.DAR.Rochelle@gmail.com.