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Memorial Day

May 24, 2009

Tell them of us and say,

For their tomorrows,

We gave our today.

-The Kohima Eptaph

Here are a few facts about the guards (called Sentinel’s):

  1. The sentinel walks 21 steps past the Tomb of The Unknown Soldiers.
  2. The sentinel turns 90 degrees to face east for 21 seconds. Turns again to face north for 21 seconds.
  3. Places the rifle on the shoulder away from the tomb to signify the sentinel stands between the tomb and any threat.
  4. Gloves are moistened to prevent the Sentinel from losing his grip on the rifle.
  5. For a person to apply as a sentinel, he/she must be between 5’10 ad 6’4 and can not exceed a waist size of 30 inches.
  6. The Tomb Guard Identification Badge is on of the least awarded badges in the Army, second only to the Astronaut Badge. Badge is awarded after a sentinel has served 9 months guarding the tomb.
  7. The shoes are built up so the heel and sole are of equal height.  This helps keep his back straight. As a side effect this allows the sentinel to move in a fluid fashion. (head will not “bob” up and down when he walks)
  8. There have been three female sentinel’s.
  9. The tomb has been guarded every minute of every day since July 1, 1936. (Military watch started in 1926, but only during cemetery hours)
  10. Guard change is every 30 minutes from April – Sept. Every 60 minutes from Oct – March and every two hours during the night.
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