I recently learned this. This was very powerful to me. (cut and pasted-from different sources I DID Plagiarize) HONOR GUARD AT ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY 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. 1. How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the tomb of the Unknowns and why? 21 steps. It alludes to the twenty-one gun salute, which is the highest honor given any military or foreign dignitary. 2. How long does he hesitate after his about face to begin his return walk and why? 21 seconds for the same reason as answer number 1. 3. Why are his gloves wet? His gloves are moistened to prevent his losing his grip on the rifle. 4. Does he carry his rifle on the same shoulder all the time, and if not, why not? He carries the rifle on the shoulder away from the tomb After his march across the path, he executes an about face, and moves the rifle to the outside shoulder. 5. How often are the guards changed? Guards are changed every thirty minutes, twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year. 6. What are the physical traits of the guard limited to? For a person to apply for guard duty at the tomb, he must be between 5' 10" and 6' 2" tall and his waist size cannot exceed 30." Other requirements of the Guard: After two years, the guard is given a wreath pin that is worn on their lapel signifying they served as guard of the tomb. There are only 400 presently worn. The guard must obey these rules for the rest of their lives or give up the wreath pin. The shoes are specially made with very thick soles to keep the heat and cold from their feet. There are metal heel plates that extend to the top of the shoe in order to make the loud click as they come to a halt. There are no wrinkles, folds or lint on the uniform. Guards dress for duty in front of a full-length mirror. The first six months of duty a guard cannot talk to anyone, nor watch TV. All off duty time is spent studying the 175 notable people laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. A guard must memorize who they are and where they are interred. Among the notables are: President Taft, Joe E. Lewis (the boxer), and Medal of Honor winner Audie Murphy (the most decorated soldier of WWII) of Hollywood fame. Every guard spends five hours a day getting his uniforms ready for guard duty. 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.