To Provide a Military Guard
10 years ago
On March 2, 1926, Allen J. Furlow, a newly-elected Representative from Rochester, Minnesota, introduced what would become known as House Joint Resolution Number 185. The joint resolution called for ”a military guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington”. The Resolution was then sent to the Committee on Military Affairs. The result was a formal military guard posted at the Tomb on March 25, 1926. Although only posted during the hours of cemetery operation, this was a formal beginning to what eventually evolved into the Sentinels that are present at the Tomb to this day. It would be another 11 years before the guard was posted for 24 hours in order to maintain a constant vigil – one that has gone unbroken to the present day.
The picture that accompanies this article is truly remarkable. According to the Library of Congress this picture represents the first permanent guard at the Tomb. It remains an amazing part of the history of not only the Tomb, but also that of the Sentinels. It caused me a moment of reflection – perhaps this man is the first military guard posted. His name may be lost to history, but his mission will never be forgotten by those that came after him.
Written by Kevin Welker
Congressional Record: 69th Congress, 1st Session, Vol.67, Part 5 (Washington, DC: G.P.O), 4880.
Courtesy of the Library of Congress (Retrieved 18 March 2013).
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The History of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in 26 paintings by artist Dave Rappaport going on exhibit in France (three locations).Presented by the Military Women's Memorial and the Society of the...
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Did you know?
How long does the Sentinel hesitate after the facing movement to begin the return walk? Is the rifle carried on the same shoulder all the time?
The Sentinel does not execute an about face, rather they stop on the 21st step, then turn and face the Tomb for 21 seconds. They then turn to face back down the mat, change the weapon to the outside shoulder, mentally count off 21 seconds, then step off for another 21 step walk down the mat. They face the Tomb at each end of the 21 step walk for 21 seconds. The Sentinel then repeats this over and over until the the Guard Change ceremony begins.