Posted by on Oct 19, 2011 in Photographs, Sacred Places | 0 comments

His duty as a member of the “Old Guard”, the select few who guard the Tomb of the Unknown Solider, was over. It had been an honor to serve in the Army’s 3rd Infantry. Now he watched as another soldier from his unit performed the duty as “Sentinel of the Tomb”, an act he would never perform again. His palms still sensed the moisture from the gloves he used to wear (moistened on purpose) which helped him hold the rifle securely. He could almost hear the young man on duty silently counting the steps. 18 – 19 – 20 – 21 and halt. Wait 21 seconds. Turn 90 degrees and hold for 21 seconds.

Out of habit, he counted along, his body fighting the urge to turn in tandem with the sentry. Shift the rifle to the outside shoulder; march 21 steps. Halt. Wait. Turn. March. Over and over.

No matter the weather, time of day, or circumstances the tomb is guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. . . . the sentinel never leaves his post.

He bowed his head, and walked over to read once more the inscription on the side of the monument. “HERE RESTS IN HONORED GLORY, AN AMERICAN SOLDIER KNOWN BUT TO GOD” The soldier didn’t mean to be disrespectful but, God wasn’t the only one who knew this man. He stood at attention and saluted. “I may not know your name,” he thought. “But I know who you are. You are my Brother in Arms.”

~J.K. Ingersoll



Leave a Comment