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Posted: 1/30/2006 6:20:19 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/30/2006 6:22:07 AM EDT by J_Smith]
Got to visit Arlington Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier yesterday. Very somber experience.
Definitely sobering to all the sacrifices made past and present by our countrymen. I never imagined the cemetery to be so large or emotionally moving.

Changing of the Guard


The Old Guard again - the professionalism was overwhelming (Sorry for the blurry pic - not sure what happened)



Arlington Cemetery




Link Posted: 1/30/2006 6:21:53 AM EDT
Nice pics, i went there 15 years ago.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 6:25:37 AM EDT
What an incredible experience huh?
I went there last year with my wife & we were both in awe of the entire cemetary. A very humbling experience. Did you check out the Iwo Jima Memorial? It's a small hike away from Arlington.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 6:27:51 AM EDT
Of all the things I saw during my trip to the DC area, the Tomb and Arlington are the ones I remember the most.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 8:50:21 AM EDT
When someone asks me "what does it mean to be an American", I always tell them to go see the Vietnam Wall and Arlington National Cemetery. No where else are American Ideals more prominently displayed.

Freedom isn't free. Semper Fi.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 8:54:40 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/30/2006 12:11:00 PM EDT by NimmerMehr]
I'm curious, and mean no disrespect. Is that a strictly symbolic guard on the tomb, or if -> I run up with some spray paint to deface the tomb, can the guard legal beat the crap out of me?

Fixed bad typing.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 8:54:45 AM EDT
I burried my father there in 2002 (Vietnam vet). There is no other cemetery like it!
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 8:57:12 AM EDT

Originally Posted By NimmerMehr:
I'm curous, and mran no disrespect. Is that a strictly symbolic guard on the tomb, or if -> I run up with some spray paint to deface the tomb, can the guard legal beat the crap out of me?



Dunno if the rifles are loaded, but I'd wager the bayonets are pretty sharp.
And I wouldn't want to test those fellas.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 8:59:00 AM EDT

Originally Posted By NimmerMehr:
I'm curous, and mran no disrespect. Is that a strictly symbolic guard on the tomb, or if -> I run up with some spray paint to deface the tomb, can the guard legal beat the crap out of me?



Does the word "buttstroke" have any significant meaning for you?


Sheep
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 11:44:47 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/30/2006 11:45:56 AM EDT by USNDOC]
As for if they are symbolic, I can recount one incident that I witnessed that tells me no.

My parents and I used to go to DC quite often when I was growing up. It was a real education to see some of the things that I got to see that are not on the public tours.

We went to ANC and arrived just in time to see the changing of the guard. I was standing in the area off to the right of your pictures, I was virtually right in line with the guards path. When the new guard crew enters, they come in from that side of tomb so that was a good spot to watch.

The Sergeant of the Guard brought in the new guard and was getting ready to post him when he looked over near me. He was looking at some tourist idiot standing a few feet away from me. I cannot remember what the guy was doing, I think he was still wearing his hat, taking pictures, talking, or maybe he was crossing the barrier. But, the Sergeant of the guard left the guards in the middle of the ceremony and sprang on the guy. He was in the guys face in no time. The part that I remember was this booming metalic voice coming from the Sergeant telling the idiot to stop what he was doing that it was disrespectful and essentially he was about to get his ass kicked. The Sergeant was obviously serious and was prepared to defend the tomb from any form of disrespect. The guy left when another guard approached the from behind and escorted him away.

The whole event took less than the 21 seconds it takes the guards to make the turn. The guard on post and the replacement never skipped a beat. They continued doing what they were doing until he was back. The Sergeant returned and completed the inspection as if nothing had happened. Now, it was not the guard on post that made the attack, but it tells me how serious these guys are. Symbolic or not, they are not to be messed with.

Link Posted: 1/30/2006 11:52:58 AM EDT
Those soldiers are squared away. Best display of disciplined D&C i have seen .
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 11:55:45 AM EDT
One of the things that I will remember for the rest of my life is the Changing of the Guard. It was awesome and it was dead silent for 30-45mins while we were there.

One of the other things was the Holocaust Memorial.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 12:10:12 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SheepDog_556:

Originally Posted By NimmerMehr:
I'm curous, and mran no disrespect. Is that a strictly symbolic guard on the tomb, or if -> I run up with some spray paint to deface the tomb, can the guard legal beat the crap out of me?



Does the word "buttstroke" have any significant meaning for you?


Sheep



Cool.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 12:36:42 PM EDT
I classmate of mine from college said he tried out for that duty and was an inch and a half too tall for duty. He had to go through a butt load of personality tests and "other" mental typin exams to see if he even qualified. He said he passed all of it with flying colors and then was told he was "too big".

But, I do remember him saying that it was drilled into his head that "this is a VERY serious duty and that you will be expected to defend the tomb with your life if neccesary."

I dont doubt for one bit that those guards would send you to hospital in a heartbeat if you came anywhere near the tomb with a can of spraypaint.. And yes.... the rifles are loaded (so I was told).
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 12:43:44 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/30/2006 12:44:31 PM EDT by California_Kid]
I know a guy who had that job when he was in the Army.

It was during the Vietnam War.

You have to have an absolutely spotless service record as well as being the right height and weight.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 1:27:47 PM EDT
Tomb Sentinels refuse to vacate their post during Hurricane Isabel


Claim: During Hurricane Isabel, sentries guarding the Tomb of the Unknowns remained at their posts.

Status: True.

Example: [Texarkana Gazette, 2003]




Here Rests In Honored Glory An American Soldier Known But To God.

So reads the inscription etched into the white granite tomb that marks the resting place of America's official unknown soldiers. The Tomb of the Unknowns remains one of the United States' most revered sites, a permanent reminder of this country's commitment to honor those who died fighting for its freedom. Last week, that commitment was upheld in a way some people might not have even noticed or even thought about.

When practically every government employee in Washington was beating a hasty retreat to avoid the aftereffects of Hurricane Isabel, a small group of men decided their commitment to duty, honor and country was more important than personal safety or comfort.

Tomb Guard Sentinels, the elite soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry regiment chosen to act as guards at the Tomb, opted to sustain their constant vigil at the Tomb of the Unknowns rather than flee the oncoming bad weather. To them it was a matter of honoring their personal and professional obligations to the men and women who served before them and who serve now - and obviously do not have the luxury of serving their country only when skies are blue and the sun shines down upon them.

Although the Tomb of the Unknowns is watched over by Tomb Guards 24 hours a day, 365 days a year regardless of weather conditions, to have soldiers so duty-bound as to ignore their own personal well-being is an example of real patriotism and a real reminder of the sacrifices made to secure the principles of liberty.



Origins: Military cemeteries are places of especial reverence because each grave therein is not only the final resting place of an individual but also stands as a monument to valor and the enduring truths for which that soldier gave his life.

Tombs dedicated to unknown soldiers, those fallen comrades whose identities have been lost to all but God, stand as poignant reminders of the gravity of duty to one's country and of the awful price freedom may demand of those who serve in the military. Although every soldier's grave
should be such a reminder, it is easy to pass by those of known individuals and not be struck by the day-to-day act of courage that it is to be a soldier. Yet before the tomb of an unknown serviceman, that realization strikes home. The man interred therein represents all soldiers; his courage, valor, and sacrifice represent the promise of all who serve that when called upon they will do no less. Before the tomb of an unknown, we honor the dead and are awed by the living.

When Hurricane Isabel hit on 19 September 2003, she struck with fury and left in her wake a trail of devastation. Yet not even a hurricane is stronger than a soldier's sense of duty.

The text quoted above, which was picked up by Associated Press out of the Texarkana Gazette, is for the most part accurate. Sentries charged with guarding the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia did indeed spend the entire night out in the weather rather than leave their posts. It is untrue, however, that they disobeyed a direct order to do so, as some e-mail versions of this story maintain:

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 idiot who couldn't stand a little light breeze and shirked his duty."
A contingency plan had been established that if winds reached 120 mph the guards could retreat from their usual exposed-to-the-elements posts in the tomb plaza to take up positions in trophy room, which is above the tomb plaza and has a clear view of the sepulcher. (The Tomb of the Unknowns is a small box-like white building situated in an open area close to the middle of the cemetery.) This plan was not put into effect.

The Tomb of the Unknowns holds three sets of remains, one each from World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. A fourth set of remains from the Vietnam War used to be part of this august company but was formally disinterred in 1998 after DNA testing determined them to belong to First Lieutenant Michael Joseph Blassie. Lt. Blassie is now buried in his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. The tomb is guarded 24 hours a day and 365 days a year by specially chosen soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Regiment (Old Guard) stationed at nearby Fort Myer.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 1:58:56 PM EDT
I had the honor of carrying the wreath down to the tomb while the guards were changing back when I was in junior high, probably '88 or '89. It was an awesome experience, as was seeing the entire cemetary and the eternal flame of Kennedy's memorial. What really sucks, though, is that I have lost all of my pictures of that trip to DC.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 2:01:47 PM EDT
I need to make a trip soon and get y'all some screensaver pics
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 2:49:42 PM EDT

Originally Posted By NoVaGator:
I need to make a trip soon and get y'all some screensaver pics



+1 If anyone were to photograph ANC, I'd vote for you.
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