Arlington Cemetery

 Tomb  of the Unknown Soldier

 1. How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the tomb of the Unknowns and why?

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?  
 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? Why?  
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 ft.10 and 6ft 2 tall and his waist size cannot exceed  30 in.  
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 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 , the 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.  




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