[Vision2020] Facts about the TOMB OF THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER

Tom Hansen thansen@moscow.com
Wed, 28 Apr 2004 19:06:15 -0700


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What better place to find out facts about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
than the Military District of Washington:

http://www.mdw.army.mil/FS-A11.HTM

There is some fascinating history connected to the tombs.

Take care,

Tom Hansen
  -----Original Message-----
  From: vision2020-admin@moscow.com [mailto:vision2020-admin@moscow.com]On
Behalf Of Dick Schmidt
  Sent: Wednesday, April 28, 2004 6:45 PM
  To: vision2020@moscow.com
  Subject: [Vision2020] Facts about the TOMB OF THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER


  All,

  I received this as one of many adressees and cannot swear to the accruacy
of this article. Some of the information I have heard before. Tom Hansen
probably would know as much about it as anyone on the list. I don't know if
I could handle not being able to drink alcohol or swear in public the rest
of my life if that is a true fact!!!

  Dick Schmidt


  Subject: TOMB OF THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER

  Interesting facts about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Sentinels
  of the Third United States Infantry Regiment "Old Guard"

  1. How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the tomb of
  the Unknowns and why?

  21 steps. It alludes to the twenty-one gun salute, which is the highest
  honor given any military or foreign dignitary.

  2. How long does he hesitate after his about face to begin his return walk
  and why?

  21 seconds, for the same reason as answer number 1.

  3. Why are his gloves wet?

  His gloves are moistened to prevent his losing his grip on the rifle.

  4. Does he carry his rifle on the same shoulder all the time, and if not,
  why not?

  No, he carries the rifle on the shoulder away from the tomb. After his
  march across the path, he executes an about face and moves the rifle to
the
  outside shoulder.

  5. How often are the guards changed?

  Guards are changed every thirty minutes, twenty-four hours a day, 365 days
  a year.

  6. What are the physical traits of the guard limited to?

  For a person to apply for guard duty at the tomb, he must be between 5'
10"
  and 6' 2" tall and his waist size cannot exceed 30".

  Other requirements of the Guard:

  They must commit 2 years of life to guard the tomb, live in a barracks
  under the tomb, and cannot drink any alcohol on or off duty FOR THE REST
OF THEIR
  LIVES. They cannot swear in public FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES and cannot
  disgrace the uniform {fighting} or the tomb in any way.

  After TWO YEARS, the guard is given a wreath pin that is worn on their
  lapel signifying they served as guard of the tomb. There are only 400
presently
  worn. The guard must obey these rules for the rest of their lives or give
  up the wreath pin.

  The shoes are specially made with very thick soles to keep the heat and
  cold from their feet. There are metal heel plates that extend to the top
of the
  shoe in order to make the loud click as they come to a halt. There are no
  wrinkles, folds or lint on the uniform. Guards dress for duty in front of
a
  full-length mirror.

  The first SIX MONTHS of duty a guard cannot talk to anyone, nor watch TV.
  All off duty time is spent studying the 175 notable people laid to rest in
  Arlington National Cemetery. A guard must memorize who they are and where
  they are interred. Among the notables are: President Taft, Joe E. Lewis
{the boxer}
  and Medal of Honor winner Audie Murphy, {the most decorated soldier of
WWII} of
  Hollywood fame. Every guard spends FIVE HOURS A DAY getting his uniforms
  ready for guard duty.

  The Sentinels Creed:
  My dedication to this sacred duty is total and wholehearted. In the
  responsibility bestowed on me never will I falter. And with dignity and
  perseverance my
  standard will remain perfection. Through the years of diligence and praise
  and the discomfort of the elements, I will walk my tour in humble
reverence
  tothe best of my ability. It is he who commands the respect I protect. His
  bravery that made us so proud. Surrounded by well meaning crowds by day
  alone in the thoughtful peace of night, this soldier will in honored glory
rest under my
  eternal vigilance.

  More Interesting facts about the Tomb of the Unknowns itself:

  The marble for the Tomb of the Unknowns was furnished by the Vermont
Marble
  Company of Danby, Vt. The marble is the finest and whitest of American
  marble, quarried from the Yule Marble Quarry located near Marble, Colorado
and is
  called Yule Marble. The Marble for the Lincoln memorial and other famous
  buildings was also quarried there.

  The Tomb consists of seven pieces of rectangular marble:
  Four pieces in sub base; weight - 15 tons;
  One piece in base or plinth; weight - 16 tons;
  One piece in die; weight - 36 tons;
  One piece in cap; weight - 12 tons;
  Carved on the East side (the front of the Tomb, which faces Washington,
  D.C.)
  is a composite of three figures, commemorative of the spirit of the Allies
  of World War I.

  In the center of the panel stands Victory (female).

  On the right side, a male figure symbolizes Valor.

  On the left side stands Peace, with her palm branch to reward the devotion
  and sacrifice that went with courage to make the cause of righteousness
  triumphant.

  The north and south sides are divided into three panels by Doric
pilasters.
  In each panel is an inverted wreath.

  On the west, or rear, panel (facing the Amphitheater) is inscribed:

  HERE RESTS IN HONORED GLORY AN AMERICAN SOLDIER KNOWN BUT TO GOD

  The first Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was a sub base and a base or plinth.
  It was slightly smaller than the present base. This was torn away when the
  present Tomb was started Aug. 27, 1931. The Tomb was completed and the
area
  opened to the public 9:15 a.m. April 9, 1932, without any ceremony.

  Cost of the Tomb: $48,000
  Sculptor: Thomas Hudson Jones
  Architect: Lorimer Rich
  Contractors: Hagerman & Harris, New York City
  Inscription: Author Unknown

  (Interesting Commentary)

  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 Tomb of the
Unknowns.

  The public is familiar with the precision of what is called "walking post"
  at the Tomb. There are roped off galleries where visitors can form to
observe
  the troopers and their measured step and almost mechanically, silent rifle
  shoulder changes. They are relieved every hour in a very formal drill that
  has to be seen to be believed.

  Some people think that when the Cemetery is closed to the public 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 unaccounted
  for American combat dead. The steady rhythmic step in rain, sleet, snow,
hail,
  heat and cold must be uninterrupted. Uninterrupted is the important part
of the
  honor shown.

  Recently, while you were sleeping, the teeth of hurricane Isabel came
  through this area and tore hell out of everything. We had thousands of
trees down,
  power outages, traffic signals out, roads filled with downed limbs and
  "gear adrift" debris. We had flooding and the place looked like it had
been the
  impact area of an off-shore bombardment.

  The Regimental Commander of the U.S. Third Infantry sent word to the
  nighttime 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
  sure as hell have no intention of spending my Army career being known as
  the damned 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 b.s. seem to have become the accepted
  coin-of-the-realm, there beat hearts - the enlisted hearts we all knew and
  were so damn proudto 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 spirit that George S. Patton,
  Arliegh Burke and Jimmy Doolittle left us ... survives.

  On the ABC evening news, it was reported recently 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.

  Very, very proud of our soldiers in uniform!


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<DIV><SPAN class=3D792020102-29042004><FONT color=3D#0000ff =
size=3D2>What better place=20
to find out facts about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier than the =
Military=20
District of Washington:</FONT></SPAN></DIV>
<DIV><SPAN class=3D792020102-29042004><FONT color=3D#0000ff=20
size=3D2></FONT></SPAN>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><SPAN class=3D792020102-29042004><FONT color=3D#0000ff size=3D2><A=20
href=3D"http://www.mdw.army.mil/FS-A11.HTM">http://www.mdw.army.mil/FS-A1=
1.HTM</A></FONT></SPAN></DIV>
<DIV><SPAN class=3D792020102-29042004><FONT color=3D#0000ff=20
size=3D2></FONT></SPAN>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><SPAN class=3D792020102-29042004><FONT color=3D#0000ff =
size=3D2>There is some=20
fascinating history connected to the tombs.</FONT></SPAN></DIV>
<DIV><SPAN class=3D792020102-29042004><FONT color=3D#0000ff=20
size=3D2></FONT></SPAN>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><SPAN class=3D792020102-29042004><FONT color=3D#0000ff =
size=3D2>Take=20
care,</FONT></SPAN></DIV>
<DIV><SPAN class=3D792020102-29042004><FONT color=3D#0000ff=20
size=3D2></FONT></SPAN>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><SPAN class=3D792020102-29042004><FONT color=3D#0000ff size=3D2>Tom =

Hansen</FONT></SPAN></DIV>
<BLOCKQUOTE dir=3Dltr=20
style=3D"PADDING-LEFT: 5px; MARGIN-LEFT: 5px; BORDER-LEFT: #0000ff 2px =
solid; MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px">
  <DIV class=3DOutlookMessageHeader dir=3Dltr align=3Dleft><FONT =
face=3DTahoma=20
  size=3D2>-----Original Message-----<BR><B>From:</B> =
vision2020-admin@moscow.com=20
  [mailto:vision2020-admin@moscow.com]<B>On Behalf Of </B>Dick=20
  Schmidt<BR><B>Sent:</B> Wednesday, April 28, 2004 6:45 =
PM<BR><B>To:</B>=20
  vision2020@moscow.com<BR><B>Subject:</B> [Vision2020] Facts about the =
TOMB OF=20
  THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER<BR><BR></FONT></DIV>
  <DIV>All,</DIV>
  <DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
  <DIV>I received this as one of many adressees and&nbsp;cannot swear to =
the=20
  accruacy of this article. Some of the information I have heard before. =
Tom=20
  Hansen probably would know as much about it as anyone on the list. I =
don't=20
  know if I could handle not being able to drink alcohol or swear in =
public the=20
  rest of my life if that is a true fact!!!</DIV>
  <DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
  <DIV>Dick Schmidt</DIV>
  <DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
  <DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
  <DIV>Subject: TOMB OF THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER<BR><BR>Interesting facts =
about the=20
  Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Sentinels <BR>of the Third United =
States=20
  Infantry Regiment "Old Guard"<BR><BR>1. How many steps does the guard =
take=20
  during his walk across the tomb of <BR>the Unknowns and why?<BR><BR>21 =
steps.=20
  It alludes to the twenty-one gun salute, which is the highest<BR>honor =
given=20
  any military or foreign dignitary.<BR><BR>2. How long does he hesitate =
after=20
  his about face to begin his return walk<BR>and why?<BR><BR>21 seconds, =
for the=20
  same reason as answer number 1.<BR><BR>3. Why are his gloves =
wet?<BR><BR>His=20
  gloves are moistened to prevent his losing his grip on the =
rifle.<BR><BR>4.=20
  Does he carry his rifle on the same shoulder all the time, and if =
not,<BR>why=20
  not?</DIV>
  <DIV><BR>No, he carries the rifle on the shoulder away from the tomb. =
After=20
  his <BR>march across the path, he executes an about face and moves the =
rifle=20
  to the<BR>outside shoulder.<BR><BR>5. How often are the guards=20
  changed?<BR><BR>Guards are changed every thirty minutes, twenty-four =
hours a=20
  day, 365 days <BR>a year.<BR><BR>6. What are the physical traits of =
the guard=20
  limited to?<BR><BR>For a person to apply for guard duty at the tomb, =
he must=20
  be between 5' 10"<BR>and 6' 2" tall and his waist size cannot exceed=20
  30".<BR><BR>Other requirements of the Guard:<BR><BR>They must commit 2 =
years=20
  of life to guard the tomb, live in a barracks <BR>under the tomb, and =
cannot=20
  drink any alcohol on or off duty FOR THE REST OF THEIR<BR>LIVES. They =
cannot=20
  swear in public FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES and cannot<BR>disgrace the =
uniform=20
  {fighting} or the tomb in any way.<BR><BR>After TWO YEARS, the guard =
is given=20
  a wreath pin that is worn on their <BR>lapel signifying they served as =
guard=20
  of the tomb. There are only 400 presently<BR>worn. The guard must obey =
these=20
  rules for the rest of their lives or give <BR>up the wreath =
pin.<BR><BR>The=20
  shoes are specially made with very thick soles to keep the heat and =
<BR>cold=20
  from their feet. There are metal heel plates that extend to the top of =

  the<BR>shoe in order to make the loud click as they come to a halt. =
There are=20
  no<BR>wrinkles, folds or lint on the uniform. Guards dress for duty in =
front=20
  of a<BR>full-length mirror.<BR><BR>The first SIX MONTHS of duty a =
guard cannot=20
  talk to anyone, nor watch TV.<BR>All off duty time is spent studying =
the 175=20
  notable people laid to rest in<BR>Arlington National Cemetery. A guard =
must=20
  memorize who they are and where<BR>they are interred. Among the =
notables are:=20
  President Taft, Joe E. Lewis {the boxer}<BR>and Medal of Honor winner =
Audie=20
  Murphy, {the most decorated soldier of WWII} of<BR>Hollywood fame. =
Every guard=20
  spends FIVE HOURS A DAY getting his uniforms<BR>ready for guard=20
  duty.<BR><BR>The Sentinels Creed:<BR>My dedication to this sacred duty =
is=20
  total and wholehearted. In the<BR>responsibility bestowed on me never =
will I=20
  falter. And with dignity and<BR>perseverance my<BR>standard will =
remain=20
  perfection. Through the years of diligence and praise<BR>and the =
discomfort of=20
  the elements, I will walk my tour in humble reverence<BR>tothe best of =
my=20
  ability. It is he who commands the respect I protect. His<BR>bravery =
that made=20
  us so proud. Surrounded by well meaning crowds by day<BR>alone in the=20
  thoughtful peace of night, this soldier will in honored glory rest =
under=20
  my<BR>eternal vigilance.<BR><BR>More Interesting facts about the Tomb =
of the=20
  Unknowns itself:<BR><BR>The marble for the Tomb of the Unknowns was =
furnished=20
  by the Vermont Marble<BR>Company of Danby, Vt. The marble is the =
finest and=20
  whitest of American<BR>marble, quarried from the Yule Marble Quarry =
located=20
  near Marble, Colorado and is<BR>called Yule Marble. The Marble for the =
Lincoln=20
  memorial and other famous<BR>buildings was also quarried =
there.<BR><BR>The=20
  Tomb consists of seven pieces of rectangular marble:<BR>Four pieces in =
sub=20
  base; weight =C2- 15 tons;<BR>One piece in base or plinth; weight =C2- =
16=20
  tons;<BR>One piece in die; weight =C2- 36 tons;<BR>One piece in cap; =
weight =C2-=20
  12 tons;<BR>Carved on the East side (the front of the Tomb, which =
faces=20
  Washington,<BR>D.C.)<BR>is a composite of three figures, commemorative =
of the=20
  spirit of the Allies<BR>of World War I.<BR><BR>In the center of the =
panel=20
  stands Victory (female).<BR><BR>On the right side, a male figure =
symbolizes=20
  Valor.<BR><BR>On the left side stands Peace, with her palm branch to =
reward=20
  the devotion<BR>and sacrifice that went with courage to make the cause =
of=20
  righteousness<BR>triumphant.<BR><BR>The north and south sides are =
divided into=20
  three panels by Doric pilasters.<BR>In each panel is an inverted=20
  wreath.<BR><BR>On the west, or rear, panel (facing the Amphitheater) =
is=20
  inscribed:<BR><BR>HERE RESTS IN HONORED GLORY AN AMERICAN SOLDIER =
KNOWN BUT TO=20
  GOD<BR><BR>The first Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was a sub base and a =
base or=20
  plinth.<BR>It was slightly smaller than the present base. This was =
torn away=20
  when the<BR>present Tomb was started Aug. 27, 1931. The Tomb was =
completed and=20
  the area<BR>opened to the public 9:15 a.m. April 9, 1932, without any=20
  ceremony.<BR><BR>Cost of the Tomb: $48,000<BR>Sculptor: Thomas Hudson=20
  Jones<BR>Architect: Lorimer Rich<BR>Contractors: Hagerman &amp; =
Harris, New=20
  York City<BR>Inscription: Author Unknown<BR><BR>(Interesting=20
  Commentary)<BR><BR>The Third Infantry Regiment at Fort Myer has the=20
  responsibility for<BR>providing ceremonial units and honor guards for =
state=20
  occasions, White House social<BR>functions, public celebrations and =
interments=20
  at Arlington National <BR>Cemetery and standing a very formal sentry =
watch at=20
  the Tomb of the Unknowns.<BR><BR>The public is familiar with the =
precision of=20
  what is called "walking post"<BR>at the Tomb. There are roped off =
galleries=20
  where visitors can form to observe<BR>the troopers and their measured =
step and=20
  almost mechanically, silent rifle<BR>shoulder changes. They are =
relieved every=20
  hour in a very formal drill that<BR>has to be seen to be =
believed.<BR><BR>Some=20
  people think that when the Cemetery is closed to the public in =
the<BR>evening=20
  that this show stops. First, to the men who are dedicated to =
this<BR>work, it=20
  is no show. It is a "charge of honor." The formality and precision=20
  <BR>continues uninterrupted all night. During the nighttime, the drill =
of=20
  relief and the<BR>measured step of the on-duty sentry remain unchanged =
from=20
  the daylight<BR>hours. To these men, these special men, the continuity =
of this=20
  post is the key to the<BR>honor and respect shown to these honored =
dead,=20
  symbolic of all unaccounted<BR>for American combat dead. The steady =
rhythmic=20
  step in rain, sleet, snow, hail,<BR>heat and cold must be =
uninterrupted.=20
  Uninterrupted is the important part of the<BR>honor =
shown.<BR><BR>Recently,=20
  while you were sleeping, the teeth of hurricane Isabel came<BR>through =
this=20
  area and tore hell out of everything. We had thousands of trees =
down,<BR>power=20
  outages, traffic signals out, roads filled with downed limbs and =
<BR>"gear=20
  adrift" debris. We had flooding and the place looked like it had been=20
  the<BR>impact area of an off-shore bombardment.<BR><BR>The Regimental=20
  Commander of the U.S. Third Infantry sent word to the<BR>nighttime =
Sentry=20
  Detail to secure the post and seek shelter from the high<BR>winds, to =
ensure=20
  their personal safety.<BR><BR>THEY DISOBEYED THE ORDER!<BR><BR>During =
winds=20
  that turned over vehicles and turned debris into projectiles,<BR>the =
measured=20
  step continued. One fellow said "I've got buddies getting shot<BR>at =
in Iraq=20
  who would kick my butt if word got to them that we let them down. =
I<BR>sure as=20
  hell have no intention of spending my Army career being known as =
<BR>the=20
  damned idiot who couldn't stand a little light breeze and shirked his=20
  duty."<BR>Then he said something in response to a female reporters =
question=20
  regarding <BR>silly purposeless personal risk... "I wouldn't expect =
you to=20
  understand. It's an<BR>enlisted man's thing." God bless the rascal... =
In a=20
  time in our nation's<BR>history when spin and total b.s. seem to have =
become=20
  the accepted <BR>coin-of-the-realm, there beat hearts - the enlisted =
hearts we=20
  all knew and </DIV>
  <DIV>were so damn proudto be<BR>a part of - that fully understand that =

  devotion to duty is not a part-time<BR>occupation. While we slept, we =
were=20
  represented by some damn fine men who<BR>fully understood their post =
orders=20
  and proudly went about their assigned<BR>responsibilities unseen, =
unrecognized=20
  and in the finest tradition of the<BR>American Enlisted Man. </DIV>
  <DIV>Folks, there's hope. The spirit that George S. Patton, =
<BR>Arliegh Burke=20
  and Jimmy Doolittle left us ... survives.<BR><BR>On the ABC evening =
news, it=20
  was reported recently that, because of the<BR>dangers from Hurricane =
Isabel=20
  approaching Washington, DC, the military<BR>members assigned the duty =
of=20
  guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier were given<BR>permission to =
suspend=20
  the assignment. They refused. "No way, Sir!"<BR><BR>Soaked to the =
skin,=20
  marching in the pelting rain of a tropical storm, they<BR>said that =
guarding=20
  the Tomb was not just an assignment; it was the highest<BR>honor that =
can be=20
  afforded to a service person. The tomb has been =
patrolled<BR>continuously,=20
  24/7, since 1930.<BR><BR>Very, very proud of our soldiers in=20
uniform!<BR></DIV></BLOCKQUOTE></BODY></HTML>

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