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Memorial Day moment: Incredible act of discipline and honor witnessed at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during torrential downpour

By Jon Dougherty

If you’ve never seen the “Changing of the Guard” at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery outside of Washington, D.C. (I have), you may never fully appreciate this story. But hopefully, after reading this and, perhaps, doing a little online research about the long-practiced ceremonial process, you’ll get a better understanding of just how significant an event it really is.

Especially when you understand that it must take place in all kinds of whether, even torrential downpours.

The soldiers who perform this daily ritual are members of the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment, which is better known as the “Old Guard.” They are ones planting flags at each gravesite in Arlington every Memorial Day.

On Thursday, a massive rainstorm hit Washington, D.C., just as Old Guard troops deployed to perform their flag-planting duties.

It was during this storm that “one of the most extraordinary displays of discipline and dedication to duty ever to be witnessed at Arlington National Cemetery was taking place at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier,” the Old Guard’s Facebook page said in a post.

“With only a few watching from cover, a Tomb Sentinel approached the Unknowns with U.S. flags in hand. As thunder shook the ground and rains washed down without abandon, the Tomb Sentinel pierced through the elements with breath-taking precision.

“He knelt and placed the flags in honor of the Unknowns. For the select few who saw this moment, it was jaw-dropping. Humans have their limits, but The Old Guard has yet to meet theirs.”

A comment to the post identified the sentinel as Tyler McKee, according to WTHR-TV.

It should be noted that thousands of homes in the D.C. area lost power in the storm which also knocked down a significant number of trees, WUSA-TV reported.

And yet…this troop continued to do his duty with the utmost respect, honor, and discipline shown to those who have come before him and given their lives in defense of this great nation.

Here’s the Facebook post:

“Twenty-one steps south. Face east 21 seconds. Face north 21 seconds. Twenty-one steps north. Face east 21 seconds. Face south 21 seconds. Repeat until relieved.” That is the duty. That is the process.

The guards are changed every hour, on the hour, from October 1 to March 31. From April 1 through September 30 another change is added on the half hour. The tomb is guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. During nighttime hours the measured and precise step of the on duty sentinel remains unchanged from the daylight hours.

Why 21? The significance of ’21’ reflects the twenty-one gun salute, the highest honor given any military or foreign dignitary.

It is awe-inspiring. After you watch the process — which is repeated exactly the same, day in, day out, in all weather, throughout the day — you can begin to get a better appreciation and understanding of what it took to plant a single flag.

This Memorial Day, remember that men and women like these are guarding freedom…our freedom. Words like ‘tradition,’ ‘honor,’ and ‘sacrifice’ mean something to them.  It’s not political. It’s not partisan. It is their duty, and they chose it freely.

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8 Comments on Memorial Day moment: Incredible act of discipline and honor witnessed at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during torrential downpour

  1. Reading this brought tears to my eyes. I have seen this in person when we were in D.C., and everyone should try to see it. Especially Democrats. It brings home the fact that Democrats are truly loathsome creatures. They do not deserve the liberties we enjoy.

  2. Whether it’s cold or whether it’s hot
    there’ll be whether (sic) whether or not!

  3. Alex Fitch // May 26, 2019 at 11:35 am // Reply

    Respect to those men of the 3d Regiment.

    And respect to those men of the Army and Marines who did their duty every day during torrential downpours day after day, night after night, in combat in Viet Nam.

  4. Robert Cat // May 26, 2019 at 12:36 pm // Reply

    It’s great we honor our heroic veterans, but what would be better is if we don’t engage in wars. We need to stop overthrowing dictators, stop trying to “nation build” and instead, mind our own business.

  5. If the democRATs and lefties had their way, the bones of the Unknown Soldier would be dug up and taken to the nearest land fill. They hate what our military stands for.

  6. Dave Hardesty // May 26, 2019 at 3:11 pm // Reply

    If you have never seen this at least look at the video. It’s even better in real life and you really should see it in bad weather to really appreciate the ceremony. While I never had the honor of participating I a, proud of those I personally know and did not know who have had this wonderful honor.While it does not seem difficult what you have to do and continually do to be accorded this honor is very difficult to achieve. God bless these men and women who perform this ceremony. God bless all of our men and women in active duty. God bless all who have served our nation with honor and distinction. God bless our nation. God bless our government and President and please God forgive us our petty political bickering that is destroying our nation from the inside out. In the immortal words penned by Charles Dickens for his character Tiny Tim, God bless us every one, even those who do not believe in you. Amen

  7. It was also raining when I watched this as a kid in junior high on trip to DC. The soldiers are so stoic during this you can’t help but realize how special this is.

  8. Eddie Rabbit Loves a Rainy Night // May 27, 2019 at 5:40 pm // Reply

    Celebrate anything worthwhile that is left over from the Fundamental Transformation.

8 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Torrential Storms Wreak Havoc At Tomb Of Unknown Soldier, That’s When A Hero Shows Up – Usa News
  2. Torrential Storms Wreak Havoc At Tomb Of Unknown Soldier, That’s When A Hero Shows Up – News America 24
  3. Torrential Storms Wreak Havoc At Tomb Of Unknown Soldier, That’s When A Hero Shows Up – News On-24
  4. Torrential Storms Wreak Havoc At Tomb Of Unknown Soldier, That's When A Hero Shows Up - Usa On
  5. Torrential Storms Wreak Havoc At Tomb Of Unknown Soldier, That’s When A Hero Shows Up – News Point
  6. Torrential Storms Wreak Havoc At Tomb Of Unknown Soldier, That's When A Hero Shows Up - Weekly Mail
  7. Torrential Storms Wreak Havoc At Tomb Of Unknown Soldier, That’s When A Hero Shows Up – The Times Of America
  8. Torrential Storms Wreak Havoc At Tomb Of Unknown Soldier, That’s When A Hero Shows Up

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