Lara Keel’s Report: Soldiers Faithfully Guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier During Hurricane Sandy
The following inspirational story was originally published at ABC News online. The Texas Lobby Group is posting this summary as a public service so that this story can be read by Texas citizens, lobbyists, government officials, politicians, and all interested persons.
A few days before Halloween, a photo of “The Old Guard” keeping watch over The Tomb of The Unknown Soldier” went viral over the internet. In the face of Hurricane Sandy, the guard kept contact vigil over the monument. As it turns out, the image being so widely circulated was actually a little over a month old. The Third Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Army, “The Old Guard”, quickly released a statement correcting this mistake. Although this image was incorrectly attributed to Hurricane Sandy, the Infantry was indeed standing guard as the Hurricane went through. They also published an accurate picture, and thanked everyone all the same for their support and kind words. The Army’s Old Guard has guarded the monument without fail since 1948. That’s twenty four hours a day, three hundred sixty five days a year, unfailing dedication to their cause.
“Typically when it rains, Tomb Sentinels have the option of standing their watch under a green tent located to the side of the Tomb where they usually remain during wreath-laying ceremonies at the tomb. Tomb Sentinels “are completely dedicated to their duty of guarding the Tomb. Because of that dedication, the weather does not bother them. In fact, they consider it an honor to stand their watch (we call it “walking the mat”), regardless of the weather. It gets cold, it gets hot – but the Sentinels never budge. And they never allow any feeling of cold or heat to be seen by anyone.”
All the same, the Society does state on their website that they do not compromise the health and/or safety of their soldiers. Although emergency events are unexpected, they are still well planned for. Weather involving high winds and/or lightning is taken quite seriously, and the lives of these soldiers would not placed on the line. The watch’s saying is, in part, this: “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.” These are words to live by, and not just for the guard. They are a model of honor and dedication to a remarkable sacrifice that was made for the entire country.