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Bloviating Zeppelin: Tomb of the Unknowns

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tomb of the Unknowns

Let Us Not Forget:

Q: How many steps does each Honor Guardsman take during their walk across the Tomb of the Unknowns and why?
A: 21 steps, in reference to the 21-gun salute, the highest honor given to any military or foreign dignitary.

Q: How long does the Honor Guardsman hesitate after his about-face, before he resumes walking the other direction?
A: 21 seconds; for the reasons as listed above.

Q: Why are the Honor Guardsman's gloves moist?
A: To prevent loss of grip on the rifle.

Q: Does the Honor Guardsman carry his rifle on the same shoulder all the time and, if not, why not?
A: He carries the rifle on the should 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 Honor Guardsmen changed?
A: Every 30 minutes, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Q: What are the physical qualifications for an Honor Guardsman?
A: The individual must be between 5'10" and 6'2" tall, a waist to not exceed 30". Honor Guardsmen must commit two years of their lives to guard the tomb, live in a barracks under the tomb, and cannot drink alcohol on or off duty for the rest of their lives. They cannot swear in public for the rest of their lives and disgrace the uniform or the tomb in any way.

Further, 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 pins presently worn. The Honor Guardsmen must obey these rules for the rest of their lives or forfeit the wreath pin.

The shoes worn by the Honor Guardsmen are specially made with very thick soles in order to shield them from heat and cold. There are metal heel plates that extend to the top of the shoe to make the loud click heard when Guardsmen come to a halt. There are no wrinkles, folds or lint on the uniforms, and Guardsmen dress in front of a full-length mirror.

The first six months of duty, an Honor Guardsman cannot speak to anyone nor watch TV. All off duty time is spent studying the 175 noteable people laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetary. A Guardsman must memorize who they are and where they are interred. Those persons would include President Taft, Joe E. Lewis and Medal of Honor winner Audie Murphy (the most decorated American soldier of WWII). Every guard spends five hours a day getting his uniform ready for duty.

The Tomb is guarded 24-hours-per-day and 365-days-per year by specially trained members of the 3rd United States Infantry (The Old Guard).

The Sentinels Creed
My dedication to this sacred duty is total and wholehearted. In the responsibility bestowed on me never will I falter. And with dignity and perseverance my standard will remain perfection. Through the years of diligence and praise and the discomfort of the elements, I will walk my tour in humble reverence to the best of my ability. It is he who commands the respect I protect. His bravery that made us so proud. Surrounded by well meaning crowds by day alone in the thoughtful peace of night, this soldier will in honored glory rest under my eternal vigilance.



Blogger Bushwack said...

When we went to DC for the Gathering of Eagles 1, we had a couple of days to tour and this was by far the most humbling of all.

Sat Aug 16, 11:13:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

It is a wonderful, precise thing of beauty, is it not? I always said that real Americans will tear up in at least two places in their country: Arlington Cemetary and the Tomb, and the Pearl Harbor memorial as the USS Arizona STILL leaks her fuel oil to the surface.


Sun Aug 17, 03:48:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Isaac said...

I do not come from America, but I have always wanted to visit Arlington since I was brought to my senses about the freedom we enjoy. A beautiful resting place for heroes, and as Robert said, indeed the most humbling place on Earth, I also like to add, that it is indeed, Holy Ground, probably even more sacred than the Burning Bush.

Sun Aug 17, 06:38:00 AM PDT  
Blogger RGROLAND said...

Thanks for the post BZ!! A very good tribute to these keepers of tradition!!!!!!

Sun Aug 17, 10:06:00 AM PDT  

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