Dean James III% RIGHT WING TRIBUNE –
An “Old Guard” soldier who was photographed placing a small American flag at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during a severe thunderstorm has gone viral just ahead of Memorial Day.
The storm hit Thursday in D.C. as members of the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment, better known as “The Old Guard,” were planting flags at each grave at the cemetery as they do each year at this time, Fox News reports.
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.
From the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) Facebook page:
“Yesterday, torrential rain and drastic wind gusts overcame America’s most hallowed grounds. Visitors ran for cover. News media piled into vehicles together. The streets flooded. Trees as old as the cemetery itself broke at the trunk and came crashing down.”
“But America’s Regiment endured. They found low ground and held fast through the wind and the rain. Some had to be to ordered to stand down from planting flags, still determined to continue to honor the fallen.”
“During the storm, 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. 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.
The post has garnered over 125,000 likes and has been shared by over 206,000 pepople at the time of this release.
“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.