DC Trip - Arlington Wreath Laying Ceremony Essay Contest

DC Trip - Arlington Wreath Laying Ceremony Essay Contest

Arlington National Cemetery

Wreath-Laying Ceremony

Essay Contest


This week in history class the fifth-grade boys learned about Arlington National Cemetery and its most significant memorial, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It’s exciting to think that your sons will soon be visiting this iconic site. While there, four PDS boys will have the opportunity to participate in this ceremony in front of their peers and other visitors from around the world. In order to be considered as a potential wreath-bearer, the boys must submit an essay.

Fifth-grade ELA teachers recently explained the requirements for the optional essay contest and will offer a help session on October 17 after school for any student wanting feedback on his essay. For those participating, essays are due by October 21. While this is an optional assignment, we hope many boys will pursue the opportunity. If chosen, the experience will be a memorable one.

Please reach out if you have any questions.

Laura Glenn

Essay Contest

Four PDS boys will have the high honor of participating in the Wreath-Laying Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. As a part of the honor guard, they will place the wreath at the foot of the monument and remember those buried that sacrificed their lives for the freedom of this country. The students selected will be representing PDS, their community, and family. In order to be considered as a potential wreath-bearer, a student must submit an essay.


  • Essay Prompt: Why I Want to Participate in the Wreath Laying Ceremony
  • Maximum 500 words / Minimum 350
  • Formatting: Times New Roman 12 or something very similar; include a title; indented paragraphs; 1 ½ spaced. List any websites consulted at the end.

Your essay should include the following:

  • A personal or family reason why this would be meaningful to you.
  • Significance of this ceremony to the nation.
  • References to the history of the Tomb of the Unknowns and Arlington Cemetery. Consider using these three topics each as separate paragraphs.


  • Essays will be evaluated on organization, thoughtful content, originality, grammar/mechanics, and historical accuracy.
  • A group of PDS faculty will judge the papers.


  1. Think about freedom, patriotism and the sacrifices that have been made by military veterans of all wars. How do these sacrifices impact your life personally?
  2. Do some family research. Do you have any relatives or family friends, past or present, who have served in the military whom this act might honor?
  3. What would it mean to you to represent PDS, your friends and your family in a national ceremony?
  4. Read about what the ceremony itself represents – honoring unknown soldiers who gave their lives in the cause of freedom throughout our history, fighting against the forces which have threatened our freedom and that of others. Why would you like to be a part of this ceremony?

The four students selected will represent our school, community, family, and friends before silent spectators from all over the United States and the world. To have such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pay homage to Americans who have sacrificed their lives for the freedom we often take for granted is an honor in which few people in the nation are ever able to participate. Make the most of this opportunity. Whether or not you are chosen, you can be proud that you gave it your best.

Presbyterian Day School


4025 Poplar Avenue
Memphis, TN 38111

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