Veterans day

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Senior Member
Sep 13, 2005
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Tomorrow is Veterans day so the local jurisdictions had their annual parades today.


The boy on the right is our son Tim. He's been in the Civil Air Patrol for the past 2 1/2 years and take his role very seriously.

Every day there are young men and woman who give of themselves so we can enjoy the freedoms that we know. Here's some fascinating facts for you:


Interesting facts about the Tomb
of the Unknown Soldier and the Sentinels of the Third United States
Infantry Regiment "Old Guard"

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

A: 21 steps. It alludes to the twenty-one gun salute, which is the highest honor given any military or foreign dignitary.

Q: How long does he hesitate after his about face to begin his return walk and why?

A: 21 seconds, for the same reason as answer number 1.

Q: Why are his gloves wet?

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

Q: Does he carry his rifle on the same shoulder all the time, and if not, why not?

A: No, 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.

Q: How often are the guards changed?

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

Q: What are the physical traits of the guard limited to?

A: 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:

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.

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.
The Third Infantry Regiment at Fort Myer has the responsibility for
providing ceremonial units and honor guards for state occasions, White
House social functions, public celebrations and interments at Arlington
National Cemetery and standing a very formal sentry watch at the Tomb
of the Unknowns.

The public is familiar with the precision of
what is called "walking post" at the Tomb. There are roped off
galleries where visitors can form to observe the troopers and their
measured step and almost mechanically, silent rifle shoulder changes.
They are relieved every hour in a very formal drill that has to be seen
to be believed.

Some people think that when the Cemetery is
closed to the public in the evening that this show stops. First, to the
men who are dedicated to this work, it is no show. It is a "charge of
honor." The formality and precision continues uninterrupted all night.
During the nighttime, the drill of relief and the measured step of the
on-duty sentry remain unchanged from the daylight hours. To these men,
these special men, the continuity of this post is the key to the honor
and respect shown to these honored dead, symbolic of all unaccounted
for American combat dead. The steady rhythmic step in rain, sleet,
snow, hail, heat and cold must be uninterrupted. Uninterrupted is the
important part of the honor shown.

Recently, while you were
sleeping, the teeth of hurricane Isabel came through this area and tore
hell out of everything. We had thousands of trees down, power outages,
traffic signals out, roads filled with downed limbs and "gear adrift"
debris. We had flooding and the place looked like it had been the
impact area of an off-shore bombardment.

The Regimental
Commander of the U.S. Third Infantry sent word to the nighttime Sentry
Detail to secure the post and seek shelter from the high winds, to
ensure their personal safety.


winds that turned over vehicles and turned debris into projectiles, the
measured step continued. One fellow said "I've got buddies getting shot
at in Iraq who would kick my butt if word got to them that we let them
down. I sure as hell have no intention of spending my Army career being
known as the damned idiot who couldn't stand a little light breeze and
shirked his duty." Then he said something in response to a female
reporters question regarding silly purposeless personal risk... "I
wouldn't expect you to understand. It's an enlisted man's thing." God
bless the rascal... In a time in our nation's history when spin and
total b.s. seem to have become the accepted coin-of-the-realm, there
beat hearts - the enlisted hearts we all knew and were so damn proud to
be a part of - that fully understand that devotion to duty is not a
part-time occupation. While we slept, we were represented by some damn
fine men who fully understood their post orders and proudly went about
their assigned responsibilities unseen, unrecognized and in the finest
tradition of the American Enlisted Man. Folks, there's hope. The spirit
that George S. Patton, Arliegh Burke and Jimmy Doolittle left us ...

On the ABC evening news, it was reported
that, because of the dangers from Hurricane Isabel approaching
Washington, DC, the military members assigned the duty of guarding the
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier were given permission to suspend the
assignment. They refused. "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. Very, very proud of our soldiers in uniform

All of them! God Bless you.


Jul 4, 2004
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We could use a little of their honor in ALL Americans, especially a few that purport to represent US in Washington.

It is very comforting to me to know that we have such wonderful soldiers protecting our freedoms.


Senior Member
Oct 31, 2007
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