_bbR3iY5lLSjzaZNziPYc6VX6tk Inspiration CAN be found EVERYWHERE!: Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Jeopardy Question: 
On Jeopardy the other night, the final question was "How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the tomb of the Unknowns" 

All three contestants missed it! 
Do you know the answer?  
I didn't.

1. 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 and military or foreign dignitary.

2. 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

3. Why are his gloves wet?

His gloves are moistened to prevent his losing his grip on the rifle. 

4. 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.  This is a sign of protection of the unknowns against any danger.

5. How often are the guards changed?
The Tomb has been continuously guarded 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Tomb guards are changed every thirty minutes between 8 AM and 7 PM during the period from early spring to early autumn (April 1 through September 30), and every hour between 8 AM to 5 PM the rest of the year. At all other times (when the cemetery is closed), the guard is changed every two hours.

6. What are the physical traits of the guard limited to?
Each soldier must be in superb physical condition, possess an unblemished military record and be between 5 feet, 10 inches and 6 feet, 4 inches tall, with a proportionate weight and build.Each soldier must sign for 2 years of their life to guard the tomb, but often completes only half of this term.

Tomb guards may live either on-base (at nearby Fort Myer) or off-base in housing of their choosing.
Once the sentinel has completed his or her training, he or she is examined formally for proficiency in performing the duties and in knowledge of ANC. He or she must first pass a written examination of 100 questions about ANC and then be evaluated on proficiency in keeping watch at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

After their service, the guard is given a wreath pin that is worn on their lapel signifying they served as guard of  the tomb. There are only 400 presently worn. The guard 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. 

 A Tomb guard's behavior is not so stringently regulated that he is prohibited from speaking to anyone like in Old Guard with a monastery. Guards may do whatever they want during their off-duty hours. But since any soldier wishing to become a sentinel must undergo rigorous training, including several hours a day of marching, rifle drill and uniform preparation, and every tomb sentinel is expected to be completely versed in the history of both the tomb and of Arlington National Cemetery (including knowing how to find the graves of all the prominent person buried in the cemetery), they don't necessarily have a lot of free time to devote to recreational activities.

 Among the notables buried here are:
William Howard Taft and John F Kennedy, the only Presidents buried at Arlington, 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 serviceperson. The tomb has been patrolled continuously, 24/7, since 1930.

God Bless and keep them.  

We can be very proud of our young men and women in the service 
no matter where they serve.   

If you've never watched the guarding of the tomb, here's a sentinel's eye on why they do what they do, with glimpses of the "walk" 

If you want to see more of these - check out youtube.com --- there are many on changing of the guard.  Just put in tomb of the unknown soldier and there will be many that are available to you.

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