Why This Matters
In his Gettysburg Address, President Lincoln spoke movingly about the necessity to honor those who gave their last full measure of devotion to a cause greater than themselves. In the aftermaths of all our wars and conflicts—through ceremonies, monuments, statues, parades, and simple Thank You’s—we have sought and continue to honor those who have served in uniform, although not always with the same level of reverence. Americans who don the uniform embrace the spirit of the founding fathers and live up to the final words of the Declaration of Independence: we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor. This pledge is what the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier stands for, on a deeper level.
The Sentinels who protect the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and walk back and forth day and night, know theirs is a sacred duty. They will tell you that although they do not know the names of the unknown soldiers, they nonetheless form a deep attachment with their brothers-in-arms, unknown to the world, but who represent all the fallen and missing from all wars and conflicts in which the United States has fought.
The purpose of the WETU Project is to expand the “Army” of those who embrace the duty to remember and, in our own way, fulfill the Sentinel’s Creed.
The Sentinel’s Creed
My dedication to this sacred duty
is total and whole-hearted.
In the responsibility bestowed on me
never will I falter.
And with dignity and perseverance
my standard will remain perfection.
Through the years of diligence and praise
and the discomfort of the elements,
I will walk my tour in humble reverence
to the best of my ability.
It is he who commands the respect I protect,
his bravery that made us so proud.
Surrounded by well-meaning crowds by day,
alone in the thoughtful peace of night,
this soldier will in honored glory rest
under my eternal vigilance.
As Lincoln made clear, however, memory and reverence are not enough. We must resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain by carrying forward the cause for which they fought, whether it is democracy, equality, justice, or love.
Remembering and honoring the dead is easier when they are known, when their names are spoken aloud. The purpose of the WETU Project is to honor the unknown, not only the unknown soldiers of WWI, but all who—in some way—have served and been forgotten, or serve but are forced to hide their authentic selves, or are missing in action.
We are proud that the following organizations partnered with HMC to make the WETU Project a reality.
- The National World War I Centennial Commission
- The National World War I Museum and Memorial
- The Kansas City Symphony
- Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
- The American Military Partner Association
- Northeast Kansas Chapter, Department of Kansas, American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.
- After Action Network
Through their generosity, the following persons, organizations, and foundations helped to make the WETU Project possible:
- The Hall Family Foundation
- The Tawani Foundation
- Richard J. Stern Foundation for the Arts
- Dr. (CAPT, U.S. Navy Retired) and Mrs. Larry Dickson
- Robert, Marie & Rachel Hill
The following individuals donated to our Kickstarter campaign, enabling us to reach our goal. We can’t thank them enough.
Anonymous (you know who you are)
George & Melanie Marcec
Mr. and Mrs. Bob Bennett
Jay T. Johnson
Brian D. Larios
Gavin McIlvenna, Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Keith Grahl & Harry Anderson
Jeff, Jesse, & Josh Light
Steven L. Sanders
Beth Dickson Suggett
Cameron & Karla Wesson
Steve Dodge & Paul Elo
Heather & Matthew Elwood
Steven D. Queen
Doris “Dori” Turner
Ginger & Joe Wheeler
Anne Aabom Dahl
Anthony G. Thompson
Anonymous (you, too, know who you are)