The plaque upon the tomb of the Unknown Soldier reads: "Beneath this stone rests a soldier of Washington's army who died to give you liberty."
Washington Square was originally called Southeast Square and was one of the original parks created by William Penn in his plan for Philadelphia.
From its very beginning through the Revolutionary War, the square was used as a potter's field, where the poor and unknown were buried.
On the walls of the memorial are inscribed two quotes from Washington's Farewell Address: "Freedom is a light for which many men have died in darkness"; "The independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint councils and joint efforts of common dangers, suffering and success."
The memorial was designed by architect G. Edwin Brumbaugh.
The memorial was paid for by public donations which also paid for the 1952 redesign of the park.