Standing guard at the Tomb in the face of Hurricane
August 29, 2011
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A lone Tomb Sentinel, 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), walks his tour in humble reverence during Hurricane Irene in Arlington National Cemetery, Va., Aug 27. (Photo/3rd U.S. INF Regiment The Old Guard)
WASHINGTON – As Hurricane Irene barrels her way toward the mid-Atlantic and up the East Coast, members of The Old Guard continue their vigilance at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
While on duty the Tomb Sentinel crosses a 63-foot rubber surfaced walkway in exactly 21 steps. He then faces the Tomb for 21 seconds, turns again, and pauses an additional 21 seconds before retracing his steps.
The 21 is symbolic of the highest salute according to dignitaries in military and state ceremonies.
Members of The Old Guard have guarded the Tomb every second, of every day regardless of weather or holidays since April 6, 1948.
Sean P Eagan
Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans