On this Memorial Day I would like to honor those who have sacrificed for us all. I would also like to honor a group who watches over those who must not be forgotten: The Sentinels of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.
The Tomb Guards have kept watch over the Tomb of the Unknowns continuously since 1937 and are a select group of the United States Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment. The 3rd Infantry, also known as “The Old Guard,” were given their name by General Winfield Scott in 1847. In order to qualify for service, a Tomb Guard must meet a bevy of qualifications and training requirements. It is a discredit to their service to summarize the training that they receive and the duties which they perform. It is well worth the time to read about their training, service, and the history of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at: https://tombguard.org/.
The following is the “The Sentinel’s Creed” which is learned by all Tomb Guards in training:
My dedication to this sacred duty
is total and whole-hearted.
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.
– Simon 1971
The Tomb of the Unknown Solider Guard Identification Badge has been awarded to approximately 600 men and women. It is the second least awarded badge in the military, and it can be revoked at any time during the life time of the Tomb Guard. Only the Astronaut Badge has been awarded fewer times.
Please visit the website of the Society of the Honor Guard Tomb of the Unknown Solider to learn more about training of the Sentinels, practices of the Tomb Guards, and to support the Society.
On this Memorial Day, I pray for all of those who gave their lives in service to our country. I am also thankful for those who dedicate their lives to watch over those who must not be forgotten. They are truly What IS Right With America.
Susan C. Rempel, Ph.D.