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 Tombs of the Unknowns.
The public is familiar with the precision of what is called. "walking post" at the Tombs. There are roped off galleries where visitors can form to observe the troopers and their measured step and almost mechanical silent rifle shoulder changes. They are relieved every hour in a very formal drill that has to be seen to believe.
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 American unaccounted for American combat dead. The steady rhythmic step in rain, sleet, snow, hail, hot, cold...bitter cold...uninterrupted...uninterrupted is the important part of the honor shown.
Last night, while you were sleeping, the teeth of hurricane Isabel came through this area and tore everything up... We have thousands of trees down...power outages...traffic signals out...roads filled with down limbs and "gear adrift" debris...We have flooding...and the place looks like it has 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.
THEY DISOBEYED THE ORDER...During 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'm sure as hell have no intention of spending my Army career being known as the goddam 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 garbage seems to have become the accepted coin-of-the-realm, there beat hearts...the enlisted hearts we all knew and were really so very 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 gene that George S. Patton...Arliegh Burke and Jimmy Doolittle left us...survives.
From a subvet friend in our nation's capital~More.... Nina Swink adds....On the ABC evening news, it was reported tonight 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.
Addition to this e: I saw an interview on Fox News Channel with the Commander of the soldiers who guard the Tomb of the unknown. He took the shift when Isabel was unleashing her fury, cause he did not want to ask any of his men to do this - he felt it was his highest honor to be on duty during that time. Very, proud of our persons in uniform!!!!!!
Now, go have another cup of coffee to pop open your eyelids, and feel safe when you go to bed at night for the young men and women of the armed forces are on the ramparts across the world protecting us all. So when you hear the spin doctors on TV and the occasional troop that is scared and runs there mouth remember it is the masses that are serving quietly.
So remember it when you go to work that President Bush has done more to get rid of the worlds scum that would murder us all in our homes if it where possible, than anyone else and wait there is more to come. Samuel Adams 2nd President of the US said that freedom isn't free, many will pay the price over the coming years they think it is worth the price for they are there standing in harms way to protect all that we have and all that we presently enjoy.
Myths & Legends
Words expressed on pages found on this website and linked from home page were mostly written by others. No copyright infringement intended. If those who wrote those words do not want them to appear on this website, they may contact me to have them removed.
Most photographs by unknown photographers.