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"Freedom is a light for which many men have died in darkness." This inscription is engraved into the top of Philadelphia’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, that honors Revolutionary War soldiers.

This war, also known as the American War of Independence, ran from 1775 to 1783. The historic details before, during and after the Revolutionary War are lengthily and complex. This condensed version of a seven-year war began in 1775 when British colonists lived and occupied 13 colonies in North America. Colonial rebel soldiers, (later to be known as Americans) fought the British and the war eventually became an insurrection. This resulted in the United States becoming independent from Great Britain. The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, and America became a free country, though fighting between two sides continued into 1783.

It's difficult to imagine that this beautifully landscaped, 6.5-acre grounds are where thousands of soldiers and civilians are buried. Soldiers during this war died from warfare, inhumane prison conditions or disease. Thousands of civilians and soldiers also lost their lives to the Yellow Fever epidemic. This once-open field became a mass graveyard for most of those souls, and this location is their final resting place.

In 1954, it was decided a memorial was needed to honor those of this war. An archaeological team was hired to dig holes and retrieve the remains of one soldier. The team retrieved the remains of a soldier’s body from an oak coffin and those remains were placed within the tomb which was completed in 1957. It is unknown if the soldier was British or American.

Positioned front and center is an eternal flame that honors those fallen soldiers that fought for American independence and freedoms. In the center of the memorial is a lifelike bronze statue of President George Washington. On his left side is Washington’s farewell address from Sept. 17, 1796: “The Independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint councils and joint efforts of common dangers, sufferings and success.”


Stone Group Architects (SGA) is a proud supporter of our Veterans and Military Memorials. While we are strong supporters, SGA is independent from the memorials and does not claim responsibility of building or funding these memorials. SGA is a verified Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small business (SDVOSB) architectural firm, providing planning and design services to a variety of government clients.

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