Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  Did you know any of these facts??

I received this in the form of an email from my freind Dr. Ricard Calhoun. With memorial Day approaching, I thought it deserved attention. I have not checked to see if all of these statememnts are true, but they ring true. Thanks Rich and Kim for sharing the facts and the pictures. we should all take time to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day and when we see the ceremony on T.V., perhaps it will give us pause to think and to pray for all of our soldiers in harm's way. Brad

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." 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 serviceperson.  The tomb has been patrolled continuously, 24/7, since 1930.

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

God Bless and keep them.

Click here for pictures of The Tomb Of The Unkown Soldier

Some thoughts on Patrotism collected by Brad

I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a
man live so that his place will be proud of him. ~Abraham Lincoln

The love of one's country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop
at the border? ~Pablo Casals

Our country is not the only thing to which we owe our allegiance. It is
also owed to justice and to humanity. Patriotism consists not in waving
the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as
strong. ~James Bryce

[P]atriotism... is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the
tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime. ~Adlai Stevenson

My kind of loyalty was loyalty to one's country, not to its institutions
or its office-holders. ~Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's
Court, 1889

He loves his country best who strives to make it best. ~Robert G.

Do not... regard the critics as questionable patriots. What were
Washington and Jefferson and Adams but profound critics of the colonial
status quo? ~Adlai Stevenson

Patriotic societies seem to think that the way to educate school children
in a democracy is to stage bigger and better flag-saluting. ~S.I.

He is a poor patriot whose patriotism does not enable him to understand
how all men everywhere feel about their altars and their hearthstones,
their flag and their fatherland. ~Harry Emerson Fosdick

Each man must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong,
which course is patriotic and which isn't. You cannot shirk this and be a
man. To decide against your conviction is to be an unqualified and
excusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let men label you
as they may. ~Mark Twain

Patriotism is easy to understand in America - it means looking out for
yourself by looking out for your country. ~Calvin Coolidge

Patriotism knows neither latitude nor longitude. It is not climatic.
~E.A. Storrs

I couldn't help but say to [Mr. Gorbachev], just think how easy his task
and mine might be in these meetings that we held if suddenly there was a
threat to this world from another planet. [We'd] find out once and for
all that we really are all human beings here on this earth together.
~Ronald Reagan, 1985

If our country is worth dying for in time of war let us resolve that it is
truly worth living for in time of peace. ~Hamilton Fish

Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when
hate for people other than your own comes first. ~Charles de Gaulle

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