Shall I continue to blog about my recent obsession with our military and the members of it on active duty special assignment right here on our own soil? I think I will. I cite the recent passing of our own Independence Day as the catalyst for my patriotism.
This one is beautiful to me. It’s the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, sometimes called the Tomb of the Unknowns, as it has never been officially named. You can find it in Washington D.C., and it really must be added to all educational tours in its direction.
The remains in the standing tomb are of a soldier from World War I. The inscription reads, “Here Rests In Honored Glory An American Soldier Known But To God.” The ceremonies for choosing and burying this soldier were extensive and written about in an article here. The remains of unknown soldiers from World War II, the Korean conflict, and the Vietnam War are also buried here.
Here’s the part I love. The tomb is guarded 24 hours a day by a member of the US 3rd Infantry. These soldiers have been in combat for every war and conflict, including the current war in Iraq. Members of the Infantry stand guard over this tomb as the ultimate symbol of brotherhood and respect for our fallen heroes.
The soldier walks a mat before the tomb at a pacing of 21 steps. He then stands in a salute for the same number of seconds before returning to a pace. The number 21 is symbolic of the 21-gun salute, which is the highest honor bestowed on any dignitary or military official. Also fascinating is the white glove inspection given to each soldier as he takes his place at the tomb. It is all a very beautiful gesture and an amazing example of the excellence of our trained military men and women.