FORT SMITH (KFSM) — Students and faculty on the University of Arkansas Fort Smith (UAFS) campus will soon have the opportunity to pay tribute and honor fallen soldiers before a replica of the Tomb of the Unknowns.
The traveling exhibition "A Call To Honor: The Traveling Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Replica" will be at UAFS from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, April 29-30, at the campus green due to a partnership between the UAFS Student Veterans Organization and Fort Smith Exchange Clubs.
The Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery stands atop a hill overlooking Washington, D.C. Congress approved the burial of an unidentified American soldier from World War I in the plaza of the Memorial Amphitheater on March 4, 1921. The Tomb was placed above the grave of the Unknown Soldier of World War I.
President of the UAFS Student Veterans Organization Richard Schafer says bringing the replica to Fort Smith is deeply important to providing access to one of the nation's most sacred places.
"I have not had the distinct honor of seeing the original Tomb of the Unknowns,” he said. “It is on my bucket list, but this may very well be the closest I get to viewing the original for some time."
Fort Smith residents will gather to host a tribute program at 11 a.m. Monday, led by Master of Ceremonies Daren Bobb of 5NEWS and the Fort Smith Noon Exchange Club.
Retired Major General Kendall Penn, executive director of the National Guard Association of Arkansas, will address the visitors, and Mayor George McGill will read a proclamation by the city of Fort Smith.
Traditional acts of honor including presentation of colors, laying of wreaths, and the performance of T.A.P.S will take place.
In the event of rain showers, the exhibition will be on display in the Windgate Art & Design lobby.