The U.S. Postal Service has nothing on at least one soldier with the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment.
With all due respect to the USPS, I have to give a serious shout-out to a soldier for the Old Guard who defied terrible weather today at the Tomb of the Unknown at Arlington National Cemetery.
The weather had forced senior officers to order the men who were placing flags at the Arlington cemetery graves to stand down. The weather was too horrible; rain, thunder, lightning and heavy wind pounded the D.C. area.
But one soldier wanted to ensure that a flag was placed at the Tomb of the Unknown. The soldier, who was not identified, braved the elements. According to a Facebook post: “As thunder shook the ground, and rains washed down without abandon, the Tomb Sentinel pierced through the elements with breath-taking precision.”
Where I come from, that’s what I call “devotion to duty.”
Well done, soldier.
As the regiment noted in its Facebook post: “Humans have their limits, but the Old Guard has yet to meet theirs.”
This picture says it all for me. It is not a statue. It is a living, breathing U.S. Army soldier. He is standing guard at the Tomb of the Unknown at Arlington National Cemetery.
Yep, it is snowing. It is bitterly cold. But there he is, along with the rest of the garrison assigned to stand watch over one of our nation’s most sacred memorials.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott posted this picture on Facebook. I share it here to join the governor in saluting these men — indeed, the rest of our military force. “God bless our military,” Gov. Abbott said.
One more quick point: These men are assigned to perform this intensely precise duty in addition to their regular duties while stationed with the 3rd Army Infantry Regiment at Fort Myer, Va. They do not perform this duty exclusively. Their infantry unit is required to maintain its fitness for combat duty in the event that they would get such an order from the commander in chief.
They stand their watch at the Tomb of the Unknown — no matter what!
Not too many years after moving to the Texas Panhandle, my wife and I ventured west into New Mexico and discovered something in the resort community of Angel Fire that moved us both profoundly.
It’s the Vietnam Veterans National Memorial.
It was conceived and developed by a man whose son, David, was among the 58,000 Americans who died during the Vietnam War.
Mere words cannot begin to describe the power and pathos contained inside this memorial. It features the words of those who died. It tells the story — through letters written to loved ones back home and in diaries — of their fear, their apprehension, of their pride in the service to their country and of their love for each other as brothers in arms.
The late Victor Westphall’s memorial to his son comes to my mind today as the nation celebrates Memorial Day. President Obama laid a wreath today at the Tomb of the Unknown. Other memorials today will be visited by those who cherish the memories of those who have died in defense of the nation. We’ll pay appropriate tribute to those who gave their “last full measure of devotion.”
My wife and I took our time walking through this memorial. We tried to read every word that was written by the young warriors — and about them.
We emerged from the chapel. My wife’s eyes were moist. So were mine.
“Every politician who ever sends young men to war,” she said, “needs to come here and see this place.”