The Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington Cemetery is guarded twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, regardless of the weather conditions. The Tomb Guards are members of the 3d United States Infantry Regiment.
A soldier seeking the honor of serving as a sentinel at the Tomb must possess exemplary qualities, to include American citizenship, a spotless record, and impeccable military bearing.
While on duty the sentinel crosses a 63-foot rubber surfaced walkway in exactly 21 steps. He then faces the Tomb for 21 seconds, turns again, and pauses an additional 21 seconds before retracing his steps. The 21 is symbolic of the highest salute according to dignitaries in
military and state ceremonies.
As a gesture against intrusion on their post, the sentinel always bears his weapon away from the Tomb.
Only under exceptional circumstances may the guard speak or alter his silent, measured tour of duty. He will issue a warning if anyone attempts to enter the restricted area around the Tomb, but first will halt and bring his rifle to port arms.
The Guard wears the Army Dress Blue Uniform, reminiscent of the color and style worn by soldiers during the late 1800’s. Tomb Guards are privileged to wear the Tomb Identification Badge on the right breast pocket. The design is an inverted open laurel wreath surrounding a representation of the front elevation of the Tomb. The words "Honor Guard" are engraved at the base of the badge. A guard leaving after at least nine months of service is entitled to wear the badge as a permanent part of the uniform. -From the Old Guard website.
The Unknowns are fallen Soldiers from World War I, World War II and Korea. With the advent of DNA technology, we will no longer have fallen warriors who are unidentified.
Every American should go to Arlington once in their lives. It is an awe inspiring experience. Visiting the Tomb of the Unknowns is a deeply emotional, and truly humbling, experience.
On Memorial Day, the Tomb of the Unknowns, receives the nation's respect and gratitude for all of those who have served, especially those who fell while in service to our country.