Saturday, March 17, 2007

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

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 missed it ---

This is really an awesome sight to watch if you've never had the chance Very fascinating.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

1. How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier?

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."

Other requirements of the Guard:

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 {fighting} 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 E. Lewis {the boxer} and 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.

God Bless and keep them.

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


Morning Glory said...

Wow, that's fascinating! I've seen the tomb and the soldiers, but I had no idea about all the rest of that.

~ Amy ~ said...

That is amazing! I didn't know any of that before. I love living in the USA!

However, one thing that has always bugged me about the USA is how we can pay our professional athletes and the hollywood actors so much and our real heros get next to nothing. Just steams me!

marallyn ben moshe said...

shalom penless...what a wonderful post...made me you know soldiers here in israel are our children/our husbands/our neighbours/and our friends...the loss of one is a loss to the entire country...i love the respect your country shows to the unknown soldier...wonderful post...i'll be back...have a sweet day and thanks for visiting my blog too

Linds said...

This was really fascinating. I had no idea what was involved. Thanks for letting us know!

Candy said...

Yes, God bless them and keep them, Amen! This was so interesting Susan!!
Have a great Sunday!

Lori B said...

That was very interesting. Thanks for sharing. I agree God Bless our Soldiers!

Anonymous said...

I loved this post!! Incredible!! It makes me want to go to DC and see them again!

and about the TV post ---- you are so right! It's almost like any other addictive thing - once you turn it on - it just stays on. I don't think there is inherently anything 'bad' about TV -- it's us humans that abuse it - like alcohol. It would be fine if we could turn it on at a specific time for a specific program and then turn it off right after - but it just doesn't happen like that unless we make ourselves! TV watching just cuts into time that could be best used other places. The devil loves any distraction that takes the focus off the Lord and our relationship with Him.

I hope you're having a great day! :)

Susie said...

Great post! I feel like I should take a test now. I had no idea how dedicated these particular soldiers are that protect the tomb. Thanks so much for sharing.

jennifer said...

Thank you for posting about the caliber of the soldiers at the Tomb. It is so important that we appreciate and honor our soldiers.

These men and women are serving our country for not enough pay and certainly not enough respect.

Thank you again for your post today.

Sandy said...

I had seen that some where before but it's been awhile. I find all of it very interesting! God Bless our soliders!!!

Heather said...

Hi Susan
This is amazing! One thing I envy of you Americans is that you are so patriotic.... I listen to your anthem and it brings tears to my eyes...I love's such a picture....And you're proud of your soldiers... I wish we were more that way as a country!
Thanks for dropping by my blog....I'll have to come back to yours again to read some more...
(from 'The Zoo')

weavermom said...

I had no idea about all of this either! It was fascinating - I'll have to be sure the kids don't miss this when we study it!

Michelle-ozark crafter said...

I have seen this info before and it is awesome!

Pam said...

I learned so much from this post! I can't believe we don't get educated on such an important and patriotic mission. I can't wait to share this with my two sons. I love our soldiers and feel they get a bum deal most of the time.

Momma Roar said...

I never knew all those things - and I've never been to see it either. I am so glad you posted this, it has given me tears. Thank you for this post. Was the picture at the top one of your own from your travels?

Penless Thoughts said...

Thanks to everyone on your comments to this post. It certainly wasn't something I researched out my self so I can't take credit for that. It was something I became aware of and living my long life and never knowing this I felt it was something that needed to be passed on because apparently a lot of attention hasn't been made about it. In my opinion, it should be!!! Why don't some of the networks highlight THIS instead of the latest Rosie-Trump nonsense or the latest report on how horrible our wonderful President is?

Momma Roar, No this was not one of our own pictures. We have pictures but there is always such a mob of people at these viewing it's hard to get a good picture without all the lovely heads in it!!!

Anonymous said...

Susan, "WHAT A POST", never knew any of this. The dedication and actual sacrifice these guys make to be a member of this elite group is unreal. Somewhite isolation for 6 months. I couldn't do it... I like to talk to much. Thank God for them and their dedication. AND FOR OUR COUNTRY.....So far were still FREE !!!!! and men like this is one small part of what makes and keeps us that way an of course under the Grace of GOD THE ALMIGHTY.. Would you transfer this to the open e-mail to friends and family so we can all send it along to our mailing list... Thanks Don

devildogwife said...

It's sad that they didn't know the answer.

Some of the information that you've posted is inaccurate. You can see the correct information here.

devildogwife said...

I meant to add... If anyone gets the chance to go and see the actual guarding of the tomb and the changing of the guard, I highly recommend it.

We've been several times (as hubby worked right outside of Arlington). My daughter, even at a very young age, just sat there and watched in amazement.