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