Unflappable Soldiers Stand Guard at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as Hurricane Sandy Barrels Through
Spc. Brett Hyde, Tomb Sentinel, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), maintains his vigil during Hurricane Sandy while guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery Oct., 29.
U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Jose A. Torres Jr.
Neither rain, sleet, snow, nor Hurricane Sandy prevented soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Regiment from standing guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The tomb has been guarded continuously since 1948, through hurricanes, the World Trade Center attacks, and various storms throughout the decades.
Most businesses and offices were closed Monday in advance of the storm and its estimated 85-miles-per-hour winds, with many remaining closed today to clean up. A spokesman for the Old Guard, the Army unit that patrols the tomb at Arlington cemetery, commented about staying through hurricanes saying, “There’s been severe weather in the past. There will be severe weather in the future. We have contingency plans.”
A significant symbol in military history, Congress authorized the burial of a single soldier from World War I there in 1921. In 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorized the unidentified remains of soldiers from WWII and Korea to be interred there. And in 1984, an unidentified service member who died in Vietnam was laid to rest at this now historic site.
Since the end of WWII, at least one soldier has kept watch over the tomb at all times. This means that 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, at least one service member is honoring those who gave their lives in service of their country.
In inclement weather, a green nylon tent covers the guards, or they move into the Memorial Display Room, a small marble enclosure containing memorial plaques dedicated to the unknown soldiers. This area provides both a clear line of sight of the tomb and shelter from the elements.
As the nation watched and waited for this potentially historic storm to make landfall, it was nice to see much of the nation remembering to include these dedicated soldiers in their thoughts and prayers for safety.