Tomb of the Unknown Soldier


Being asked to conserve the Tomb of the Unknown is a project we at Ponsford Ltd hold with the greatest pride.

Once again Ponsford, Ltd. has been Selected To Handle Prestigious Project
to Prepare Monument for Memorial Day Weekend, 2003. See latest press release

To begin with, we take numerous photos of the entire monument
and document surface condition before any work commences.

The acid rain in the Washington D.C. area is unrelenting on the
surface of the stone. Pollutions that are allowed to build up on
the surface of a monument is the number one cause of the deterioration of the finish.

When rain comes in contact with the sulfur and other pollutants that have settled on a monument it produces an acid that if not removed and allowed to remain, will become destructive to the surface.
To avoid this from occurring Arlington Cemetery takes the
preventive maintenance approach with an annual cleaning.

This process allows for minimal intrusion on the monument. The whole surface is hand washed using a soft brush with a neutral ph cleaner and rinsed with clean water on low-pressure.

This is always the preferred method over waiting for a monument or sculpture to show extreme corrosion or deterioration
before addressing it.

Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery is visited by 4.5 million people a year, most of whom don't leave without paying their respects to the anonymous men buried at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. A Congressional Approval on March 4, 1921 led to the most symbolic funeral in America's history when a nameless hero who died in WWI was buried atop a hill overlooking Washington DC in Arlington National Cemetery.

The internationally recognized sarcophagus was not erected until some ten years later. Sculptor Thomas Hudson Jones and architect Lorimer Rich created the monument. The marble from which the monument is constructed is known as Yule marble and was quarried in Marble, Colorado. Yule marble is the same material used to create the Lincoln Memorial. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier weighs approximately 55 tons and cost $48,000 to create.

West of the tomb are the graves of an unknown soldier from WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. Each is marked with a 3ton slab of marble bearing the dates of each conflict. The grave of the unknown soldier from Vietnam was exhumed in 1998 and DNA testing discovered his identity. At the family's request, the soldier was sent home for a traditional burial.

Source: Brown, George Rothwell. The Washington Post, 21 November 2001.

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