Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Photo by: Jack Demaree
How many steps does the guard take
during his walk across the tomb
of the Unknowns and why?
21 steps:
It alludes to the twenty-one gun salute
which is the highest honor given
any military or foreign dignitary.
How long does he hesitate after his about face
to begin his return walk and why?
21 seconds
for the same reason as answer number 1.

Why are his gloves wet?

His gloves are moistened
to prevent his losing his grip on the rifle.
Does he carry his rifle on the same shoulder
all the time and , if not, why not?
He carries the rifle on the shoulder away from the tomb
After his march across the path,
he executes an about face and moves the rifle
to the outside shoulder.

How often are the guards changed?

Guards are changed every thirty minutes,
twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year.
What are the physical traits
of the guard limited to?
For a person to apply for guard duty at the tomb,
he must be between 5' 10' and 6' 2' tall and
his waist size cannot exceed 30.
They must commit 2 years of life to guard the tomb,
live in a barracks under the tomb,
and cannot drink any alcohol on or off duty
for the rest of their lives.
They cannot swear in public
for the rest of their lives
and cannot disgrace the uniform or the tomb in any way.
After two years, the guard is given a wreath pin
that is worn on his lapel
signifying he served as guard of the tomb.
There are only 400 presently worn.
The guards must obey these rules
for the rest of their lives
or give up the wreath pin.
The shoes are specially made with very thick soles
to keep the heat and cold from their feet.
There are metal heel plates
that extend to the top of the shoe
in order to make the loud click as they come to a halt.
There are no wrinkles, folds or lint on the uniform.
Guards dress for duty in front of a full-length mirror.
The first six months of duty
a guard cannot talk to anyone nor watch TV.
All off duty time is spent
studying the 175 notable people laid to rest
in Arlington National Cemetery.
A guard must memorize who they are
and where they are interred.
Among the notables are:
President Taft,
Joe Lewis {the boxer}
Medal of Honor winner Audie L. Murphy, the most
decorated soldier of WWII and of Hollywood fame.
Every guard spends five hours a day
getting his uniforms ready for guard duty.


In 2003 as Hurricane Isabelle was
approaching Washington, DC,
our US Senate/House took 2 days off
with anticipation of the storm.
On the ABC evening news,
it was reported that because of the dangers from the hurricane,
the military members assigned the duty
of guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
were given permission to suspend the assignment.
They respectfully declined the offer, "No way, Sir!"
Soaked to the skin,
marching in the pelting rain of a tropical storm,
they said that guarding the Tomb
was not just an assignment,
it was the highest honor that can be afforded
to a service person.
The tomb has been patrolled continuously,
24/7, since 1930.
God Bless and keep them.
I'd be very proud
if this Blog reached as many as possible.
We can be very proud
of our young men and women in the service
no matter where they serve.

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