We watched a documentary a few years ago called Arlington, Field of Honor. We didn’t know the depth of Honor that takes place there until we saw this! Representing all unknown soldiers, you get to see the absolute perfection, care, and Honor taken to stand guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It was eye opening.
I knew great care was taken by the Guards, and the field itself is overlooking Washington, D.C., but this National Geographic documentary reveals how it all started and the intense Honor given to all fallen soldiers and military. The least known are given the highest Honor, showing that even the unknown are revered.
Historically this practice started in Great Britain as a Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in 1920 from WWI, the United States and several other countries followed suit, most countries now have a similar tomb. The field at Arlington, VA has a history of its own, mainly being a Union camp during the Civil War, some soldier graffiti can still be seen at the large house on the property. Once John F. Kennedy was laid to rest there as President and war veteran, Arlington became far more of a national symbol of honor for military funerals and the final resting place for the military.
Exact timing, perfection, Guards of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier:
The training to be a Guard requires discipline beyond regular training, and personal character for their lifetime! Anything negative after their time of duty could result in their name being taken off the plaque as past Guards!
It was very interesting to watch as a Guard trainer (past Guard) looked over the Guard during training. Every detail of their hair, face, clothing, buttons, shoes had to be exact, and measurements of distances from a pin to the belt was down to the mm! That’s passing the uniform test! Not a single string from anywhere could be uncut, and are burned off to the surface.
The walking (based on 21 steps), turning, rifle handling has to be precise, as well as the exchange from old to new Guard. This isn’t like drill training where all must be neat and clean, this was exact! The Guards are not allowed to be distracted unless an actual attempt to defile or rob the Tomb was made.
Note: it is of interest that the guarding Tomb of the Unknown Soldier began in 1930, there are over 500 Guards recorded over the years, and is considered one of the highest honor duties in the military.
We have plans to visit Arlington in the future, and see the “Changing of the Guard” in person with the inspection of the rifle as it is handed off to the next Guard, and visit the graveyard and pay respect to those fallen for our country.
Make sure to watch the special above. By enlightening others it is my hope we can keep honor, integrity, and commitment to the United States alive and well!