National Moment of Silence
6 years ago
By Gavin McIlvenna, Centennial Committee Chairman
On November 11th, members of the SHGTUS Centennial Committee facilitated the inaugural National Moment of Silence (NMS) project in five states across the United States. The NMS project, led by SHGTUS Chaplain Chuck Shacochis (1965-67) is one of 15 different projects the Centennial Committee is working on. The focus for this year is on religious organizations, asking them lead their communities in pausing to remember the American Veteran and the Unknown Soldiers buried in the plaza of the Memorial Amphitheater in Arlington National Cemetery.
On the the 11th Hour, of the 11th Day, of the 11th Month across the United States and in foreign lands, Americans were asked to pause and recognize those who have sacrificed and those who will sacrifice in the future in the defense of America’s “Freedom and Democracy.” The concept is to have churches toll their bells 21 times, followed by the playing of Taps. For those churches that don’t have bells we recommended that they pause for 2 minutes at an appropriate time during their service, the first minute for the Veterans of all wars and the second minute for the future Veterans that will continue to defend this great nation.
The NMS project members have been reaching out over the past year, contacting over 40 various religious organizations in ten states to assist in the project. Below are those organizations that replied and participated this year:
Walk of Heroes War Memorial in Conyers, Georgia
Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Oregon in Cove, Oregon
Episcopal Church in Hood River, Oregon
Mid Columbia Fire & Rescue in The Dalles, Oregon
Ocean Breeze Baptist Church in Tillamook, Oregon
Old St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in The Dalles, Oregon
Zion Lutheran Church in The Dalles, Oregon
Francis Lewis High School in Fresh Meadows, New York
Severns Valley Baptist Church in Elizabethtown, Kentucky
Bethany Lane Baptist Church in Ellicott City, Maryland
Baltimore-Washington Conference, United Methodist Church in Fulton, Maryland
Next year project members will look to expand the participation and include more first responder organizations across the United States. If you would like to help with this project in your community, please contact me at email@example.com and we will help you get started.
SHGTUS Chaplain Chuck Shacochis rings the bell on Veterans Day at the Ebenezer United Methodist Church in Woodbine, Maryland.
During the National Commemoration of the Centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (1921-2021), the Society proposed to the federal government that an essay contest be created with the theme "Why...
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Did you know?
How many Sentinels have been female?
There have been over 680 tomb guards awarded the badge since 1958 when we started counting. There are hundreds more from the year 1926 when the Army started guarding the Tomb. The 3rd US Infantry (The Old Guard) is the unit that has been given the duty of guarding the Tomb. It was given this sacred duty in 1948. The Old Guard was -- and still is -- considered a combat unit. As an Infantry unit, females were not permitted in the ranks for many years. It wasn't until 1994 that females were permitted to volunteer to become a Sentinel when the 289th Military Police Company was attached to the Old Guard. The MP branch is a combat support unit and includes females.
In 1996, SGT Heather Johnson became the first female to earn the Tomb Guard Identification Badge. She volunteered for duty in June 1995 and earned her badge in 1996. However, SGT Johnson was not the only female Sentinel. Since then, there have been a total of five female Sentinels awarded the Tomb Guard Identification Badge:
SGT Danyell Wilson earned
her badge in 1997
SSG Tonya Bell received hers in 1998
SGT Ruth Hanks earned her badge in June 2015
SFC Chelsea Porterfield earned her badge in 2021
Several other units have since been attached to the Old Guard -- food service, transportation, medics, etc. -- so now females have an ever greater opportunity to become a Sentinel. Females must meet the same requirements as the male soldiers to be eligible to volunteer at the Tomb. the only difference is that females have a minimum height of 5'8" -- which is the same standard to be a member of the Old Guard.