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An Army bugler plays taps to conclude a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018.
An Army bugler plays taps to conclude a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)
An Army bugler plays taps to conclude a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018.
An Army bugler plays taps to conclude a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)
An Army band member salutes during the playing of taps to conclude a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018.
An Army band member salutes during the playing of taps to conclude a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)
Medal of Honor recipients Ronald Rosser, foreground, James McCloughan, center, and Charles Kettles take part in a wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. The three were among more than two dozen MOH recipients who attended the commemorative event, which was part of the annual National Medal of Honor Day.
Medal of Honor recipients Ronald Rosser, foreground, James McCloughan, center, and Charles Kettles take part in a wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. The three were among more than two dozen MOH recipients who attended the commemorative event, which was part of the annual National Medal of Honor Day. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)
Members of a ceremonial honor guard salute and stand at attention before the start of a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018.
Members of a ceremonial honor guard salute and stand at attention before the start of a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)
Maj. Gen. Michael Howard gives instructions to Medal of Honor recipients Charles Kettles, left, and James McCloughan before the start of a wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. Kettles and McCloughan were among more than two dozen MOH recipients who attended the commemorative event, which was part of the annual National Medal of Honor Day.
Maj. Gen. Michael Howard gives instructions to Medal of Honor recipients Charles Kettles, left, and James McCloughan before the start of a wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. Kettles and McCloughan were among more than two dozen MOH recipients who attended the commemorative event, which was part of the annual National Medal of Honor Day. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)
Medal of Honor recipient Charles Kettles arrives for a wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. Kettles was among more than two dozen MOH recipients who attended the commemorative event, which was part of the annual National Medal of Honor Day.
Medal of Honor recipient Charles Kettles arrives for a wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. Kettles was among more than two dozen MOH recipients who attended the commemorative event, which was part of the annual National Medal of Honor Day. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)
Medal of Honor recipient Ronald Rosser arrives for a wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. Rosser was among more than two dozen MOH recipients who attended the commemorative event, which was part of the annual National Medal of Honor Day.
Medal of Honor recipient Ronald Rosser arrives for a wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. Rosser was among more than two dozen MOH recipients who attended the commemorative event, which was part of the annual National Medal of Honor Day. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)
A U.S. soldier performs his sentinel duties while guarding the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in northern Virginia on Friday, March 23, 2018.
A U.S. soldier performs his sentinel duties while guarding the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in northern Virginia on Friday, March 23, 2018. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)
Members of the United States Army Band, "Pershing's Own," and a ceremonial unit of soldiers march away from Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018, following a special wreath-laying ceremony.
Members of the United States Army Band, "Pershing's Own," and a ceremonial unit of soldiers march away from Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018, following a special wreath-laying ceremony. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)
Members of the United States Army Band, "Pershing's Own," take part in a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018.
Members of the United States Army Band, "Pershing's Own," take part in a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)
Members of the United States Army Band, "Pershing's Own," take part in a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018.
Members of the United States Army Band, "Pershing's Own," take part in a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)
A color guard present the colors to start off a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. More than two dozen Medal of Honor recipients observed the event.
A color guard present the colors to start off a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. More than two dozen Medal of Honor recipients observed the event. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)
A color guard present the colors to start off a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. More than two dozen Medal of Honor recipients observed the event.
A color guard present the colors to start off a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. More than two dozen Medal of Honor recipients observed the event. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)
A color guard presents the colors to start off a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. More than two dozen Medal of Honor recipients observed the event.
A color guard presents the colors to start off a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. More than two dozen Medal of Honor recipients observed the event. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)
Members of the United States Army Band, "Pershing's Own," take part in a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018.
Members of the United States Army Band, "Pershing's Own," take part in a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)
Ceremonial Army guards perform a change-of-the-guard routine before the start of a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. More than two dozen Medal of Honor recipients, taking part in events to commemorate National Medal of Honor Day, were among a crowd of onlookers observing the ritual.
Ceremonial Army guards perform a change-of-the-guard routine before the start of a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. More than two dozen Medal of Honor recipients, taking part in events to commemorate National Medal of Honor Day, were among a crowd of onlookers observing the ritual. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)
Ceremonial Army guards perform a change-of-the-guard routine before the start of a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. More than two dozen Medal of Honor recipients, taking part in events to commemorate National Medal of Honor Day, were among a crowd of onlookers observing the ritual.
Ceremonial Army guards perform a change-of-the-guard routine before the start of a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. More than two dozen Medal of Honor recipients, taking part in events to commemorate National Medal of Honor Day, were among a crowd of onlookers observing the ritual. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)
Ceremonial Army guards perform a change-of-the-guard routine before the start of a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. More than two dozen Medal of Honor recipients, taking part in events to commemorate National Medal of Honor Day, were among a crowd of onlookers observing the ritual.
Ceremonial Army guards perform a change-of-the-guard routine before the start of a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. More than two dozen Medal of Honor recipients, taking part in events to commemorate National Medal of Honor Day, were among a crowd of onlookers observing the ritual. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripe)
Ceremonial Army guards perform a change-of-the-guard routine before the start of a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. More than two dozen Medal of Honor recipients, taking part in events to commemorate National Medal of Honor Day, were among a crowd of onlookers observing the ritual.
Ceremonial Army guards perform a change-of-the-guard routine before the start of a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. More than two dozen Medal of Honor recipients, taking part in events to commemorate National Medal of Honor Day, were among a crowd of onlookers observing the ritual. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)
Ceremonial Army guards perform a change-of-the-guard routine before the start of a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. More than two dozen Medal of Honor recipients, taking part in events to commemorate National Medal of Honor Day, were among a crowd of onlookers observing the ritual.
Ceremonial Army guards perform a change-of-the-guard routine before the start of a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. More than two dozen Medal of Honor recipients, taking part in events to commemorate National Medal of Honor Day, were among a crowd of onlookers observing the ritual. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)
Ceremonial Army guards perform a change-of-the-guard routine before the start of a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. More than two dozen Medal of Honor recipients, taking part in events to commemorate National Medal of Honor Day, were among a crowd of onlookers observing the ritual.
Ceremonial Army guards perform a change-of-the-guard routine before the start of a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. More than two dozen Medal of Honor recipients, taking part in events to commemorate National Medal of Honor Day, were among a crowd of onlookers observing the ritual. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)
Ceremonial Army guards perform a change-of-the-guard routine before the start of a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. More than two dozen Medal of Honor recipients, taking part in events to commemorate National Medal of Honor Day, were among a crowd of onlookers observing the ritual.
Ceremonial Army guards perform a change-of-the-guard routine before the start of a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. More than two dozen Medal of Honor recipients, taking part in events to commemorate National Medal of Honor Day, were among a crowd of onlookers observing the ritual. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)
Ceremonial Army guards perform a change-of-the-guard routine before the start of a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. More than two dozen Medal of Honor recipients, taking part in events to commemorate National Medal of Honor Day, were among a crowd of onlookers observing the ritual.
Ceremonial Army guards perform a change-of-the-guard routine before the start of a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. More than two dozen Medal of Honor recipients, taking part in events to commemorate National Medal of Honor Day, were among a crowd of onlookers observing the ritual. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)
Ceremonial Army guards perform a change-of-the-guard routine before the start of a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. More than two dozen Medal of Honor recipients, taking part in events to commemorate National Medal of Honor Day, were among a crowd of onlookers observing the ritual.
Ceremonial Army guards perform a change-of-the-guard routine before the start of a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. More than two dozen Medal of Honor recipients, taking part in events to commemorate National Medal of Honor Day, were among a crowd of onlookers observing the ritual. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)
Ceremonial Army guards perform a change-of-the-guard routine before the start of a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. More than two dozen Medal of Honor recipients, taking part in events to commemorate National Medal of Honor Day, were among a crowd of onlookers observing the ritual.
Ceremonial Army guards perform a change-of-the-guard routine before the start of a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. More than two dozen Medal of Honor recipients, taking part in events to commemorate National Medal of Honor Day, were among a crowd of onlookers observing the ritual. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)
Ceremonial Army guards perform a change-of-the-guard routine before the start of a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. More than two dozen Medal of Honor recipients, taking part in events to commemorate National Medal of Honor Day, were among a crowd of onlookers observing the ritual.
Ceremonial Army guards perform a change-of-the-guard routine before the start of a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. More than two dozen Medal of Honor recipients, taking part in events to commemorate National Medal of Honor Day, were among a crowd of onlookers observing the ritual. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)
A crowd of onlookers, including more than two dozen Medal of Honor recipients, watch an Army sentry perform his guard duties before the start of a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018.
A crowd of onlookers, including more than two dozen Medal of Honor recipients, watch an Army sentry perform his guard duties before the start of a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)
A crowd of onlookers, including more than two dozen Medal of Honor recipients, watch an Army sentry perform his guard duties before the start of a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018.
A crowd of onlookers, including more than two dozen Medal of Honor recipients, watch an Army sentry perform his guard duties before the start of a special wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns on Friday, March 23, 2018. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)

ARLINGTON, Va. — It's hallowed ground to many Americans — the resting place for those who have fought, sacrificed and died for their country.

On Friday, more than two dozen recipients of America's highest military award made their way to Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns to pay tribute to those who have fallen in combat but have never been identified.

The Medal of Honor recipients were part of a larger crowd of onlookers who quietly and somberly watched as a lone sentinel "walked the mat" to safeguard the tomb.

At 2 p.m., the crowd watched for the much-anticipated changing-of the-guard ceremony, involving a precise inspection of the oncoming sentinel's uniform and weapon. The daily ritual demonstrates, in a dramatic fashion, what it means to serve ones country with dignity and honor.

A special wreath-laying ceremony followed to commemorate National Medal of Honor Day. Commemorative events for the day are typically observed on March 25, but because the date fell on a Sunday this year, observances were held two days early.

According to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, there are 71 living recipients of the nation's highest military award. All of them know the sacrifices servicemembers make on the battlefield. And for those who were able to make it to Arlington, Friday's visit was just a small token of respect they offer to those serving in America’s armed services.

bongioanni.carlos@stripes.com

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