Friday, December 4, 2009

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

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 any 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.

5. How often are the guards changed?

Guards are changed every thirty minutes,
twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year.

6. 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
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.

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 Murphy, the most
decorated soldier of WWII 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.

The sacrifice that these men give to honor those who have sacrificed so much more is eye opening to me. Each and everyone of the men buried here and in every other national cemetery have sacrificed their LIVES so that we might enjoy the freedoms we have here on this earth. In the same way these men who commit to honoring these heroes give up many conveniences and entertainment. They spend two years building disciplines into their lives. And they NEVER back down. No matter the environment, the ridicule, or the "pleasures" they are missing out on. They give their all to fulfill their earthly calling. How much more the calling of our Heavenly father? Do I demonstrate even a fraction of this discipline in my daily walk with the Lord? What about my commitment to His charge, "Go ye into all the earth and preach the gospel" (Mark 16:15)? Do I faithfully live my life as the, "Light of the World"? (Matthew 5:14)

These men do so much to honor those who have given us earthly freedom. How much more should I honor Him who has given me ETERNAL freedom?!?!?!?! (John 3:15&16) It is my prayer that I will share the Love of God with everyone and in every situation I come into with the same passion and dedication as these men.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside EVERY weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us RUN with ENDURANCE the RACE that is set before us." (Hebrews 12:1)