A Memorial Day Message From The Men Who Protect The Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Font Size:

The tomb of the unknown soldier is guarded 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by U.S. army soldiers. The Tomb, located in Arlington, Virginia, is a tribute to the men and women who have died in combat and were not able to be identified. 

The unknowns have been guarded since July 2, 1937, “through rain, snow, sleet, thunderstorms, hurricanes, we’ve done it all,” Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Sentinel Sergeant Shane Vincent told the Daily Caller. 

The Tomb Guards, or Sentinels, are given the honor of guarding the Tomb — a highly selective and esteemed position — after completing an extensive training program and series of examinations.

“Many people think that the ultimate sacrifice is giving up your life, but these soldiers gave up not only their lives but their identities.” 

“The amount of dedication that we have to put into our uniforms, the amount of time we have to spend on perfecting our outside performance and studying our knowledge, it takes a lot of dedication,” said Sentinel Specialist Antonio Garcia. 

“We’re out there because, you know, those unknown soldiers, they deserve every bit of perfection that we give them when we step beyond the chains and on to that plaza,” Garcia told the Daily Caller. 

“It is for those families. It is for those unknown soldiers who gave that ultimate sacrifice.”

The tomb is engraved with the phrase, “Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.”

“When you see a World War II veteran struggling to get out of their wheelchair so that he can stand during taps, and salute during taps, that really hits home. It lets you know exactly what this place really is about,” Vincent said. 

Every year, the Old Guard places 228,000 flags in front of every headstone at the Arlington Cemetery before memorial day, as a tribute to those who gave their lives for our country.