Thanks to all who forwarded this to me. I will pass it on.
TOMB OF THE UNKNOWN
CAUTION, THERE IS SOME "OLD ARMY" TALK IN THIS NARRATIVE. FRAGILE EARS BEWARE.
The Third Infantry Regiment at Fort Myer has the responsibility for providing ceremonial units and honor guards for state
occasions, White House social functions, public celebrations and interments at Arlington National Cemetery... and standing
a very formal sentry watch at the Tombs of the Unknowns.
The public is familiar with the precision of what is called. "Walking Post" at the Tombs. There are roped
off galleries where visitors can form to observe the troopers and their measured step and almost mechanical silent rifle shoulder
changes. They are relieved every hour in a very formal drill that has to be seen to believe.
Some people think that when the Cemetery is closed to the public in the evening in the evening that this show stops.
First, to the men who are dedicated to this work... it is no show... it is a "charge of honor".
The formality and precision continues uninterrupted all night. During the nighttime, the drill of relief and the
measured step of the on duty sentry remain unchanged from the daylight hours. To these men... these special men, the
continuity of this post is the key to the honor and respect shown to these honored dead, symbolic of all American unaccounted
for American combat dead. The steady rhythmic step in rain, sleet, snow, hail, hot, cold... bitter cold... uninterrupted...
uninterrupted is the important part of the honor shown.
Last night, while you were sleeping, the teeth of hurricane Isabel came through this area and tore hell out of everything...
We have thousands of trees down... power outages... traffic signals out... roads filled with down limbs and "gear adrift"
debris... We have flooding... and the place looks like it has been the impact area of an off shore bombardment.
The Regimental Commander of the U.S. Third Infantry sent word to the night-time Sentry Detail to secure the post and
seek shelter from the high winds, to ensure their personal safety. THEY DISOBEYED THE ORDER... During winds that turned
over vehicles and turned debris into projectiles... the measured step continued. One fellow said, "I've got buddies
getting shot at in Iraq who would kick my butt if word got to them that we let them down... I'm sure as hell have no intention
of spending my Army career being known as the damn idiot who couldn't stand a little light breeze and shirked his duty."
....Then he said something in response to a female reporters question regarding silly purposeless personal risk...."I
wouldn't expect you to understand, it's an enlisted man's thing."
God Bless the rascal... In a time in our nation's history when spin and total bullshit seems to have become the accepted
coin-of-the-realm, there beat hearts... the enlisted hearts we all knew and were so damn proud to be a part of... that fully
understand that devotion to duty is not a part time occupation.
While we slept, we were represented by some damn fine men who fully understood their post orders and proudly went about
their assigned responsibilities unseen, unrecognized and in the finest tradition of the American Enlisted Man.
Folks, there's hope... The gene that George S. Patton... Arliegh Burke and Jimmy Doolittle left us... survives.
Now, go have another cup to pop rivet your eyelids, I've got to go to work.
DN From a subvet friend in our nation's capital... More... Nina Swink adds... On the ABC evening news, it was reported
tonight that, because of the dangers from Hurricane Isabel approaching Washington DC, the military members assigned the duty
of guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier were given permission to suspend the assignment.
They refused. "No way, Sir!" Soaked to the skin, marching in the pelting rain of a tropical storm, they said that guarding
the Tomb was not just an assignment, it was the highest honor that can be afforded to a service person. The tomb has been
patrolled continuously, 24/7, since 1930.
Addition to this e: I saw an interview on Fox News Channel with the Commander of the soldiers who guard the Tomb of the
unknown. He took the shift when Isabel was unleashing her fury, cause he did not want to ask any of his men to do this
- he felt it was his highest honor to be on duty during that time.
Very, very proud of our persons in uniform!!!!!! I don't usually suggest that e-mails be forwarded, but I'd be DAMN proud
if this one reached as many as possible.