This Week's View|
by Deanna Lee Birkholm
July 5th, 2004
July 5th, 2004
This must take a special kind of person.
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 tomb has been patrolled continuously, 24/7, since 1930.
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