Memories & Condolences
On behalf of your brothers in the Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, we will never forget your service to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and our Nation, and your sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy.
Line 6 – Tomb Guards never forget.
I have always prided myself on being the Relief Commander of First Relief based on your position as the same. Many times I visited your resting place in ANC. In a gesture of gratitude and respect, I placed flowers at your grave on the day of my last walk.
Rest in Peace…you will never be forgotten.
We will never forget you! It was an Honor to serve with you.Ps: 121
I am so honored to be given the name after my Uncle Bill (William R. Spates, Jr.) from my father James J. Spates (Ret. Army).
I knew Bill when we both went to Mackin High School in Washington DC. I left my senior year and did not graduate with Bill. However we were very close friends for the 3 yrs I was there. Just happened to look up up his name on Goggle and was proud to see the nice write up on him. He was a great guy and a true friend.
I was researching information about my father, Thomas Husdon Jones, who happened to be the sculptor of the Tomb of the Unknown memorial and ran across Bill’s name. Proud to see that he is buried within eyesite of the Tomb.
I am a Sentinel from the eighties, and did 2 1/2 years, mostly on 3rd relief. An going tradition, seemingly extant before I came onto the scene, became an especially favored task by me. Sometime before 0600, someone would harvest a handful of flowers from the many wreathes lined up just off the plaza, from the previous day’s wreath ceremonys, waiting to be taken away. The person made a bouquet and took it down to “Spate’s grave” in an informal manner Collective memory of that era taught he had requested burial near his beloved Tomb if he should die in Vietnam. If at all conscious after night-hours, I happily walked the flowers through the dewy grass and said good morning to the SSG. It’s amazing what a person can teach…even when they are not alive anymore. Sentinels never forget.
What an honor it is just reading your name and reading your accomplishments. I know very little about you, but what I do know, I can honestly say I\’m proud to be an American because of you!
Thank you for your service, your bravery, your spirit! Thank you for protecting my freedom! Thank you for the sacrifice of your family as well!
R.I.P dear William until that day when you and your family meet again!
3rd Relief Badge # 156 Springfield KY
Went back to Arlington 3 years ago and made it a point to go over to SSG Spates grave with my wife and told her about him wanting to be buried as close to the tomb as possible if he died in Vietnam. I went to his grave many times while at the tomb. Had two brothers who served in Vietnam.
Rest easy my fellow Tomb Guard.
I didnt know you. I visited the Tomb a couple of days ago. Watching the very same sacred ceremony that you participated in transformed my life … it inspired me. I have always loved our country and have tried to be a patriot … after witnessing this ceremony … I want to be a better man. Thank You. I too have lost a son … I know what your parents are trying to live with. May God bless them too.
I served in 31B … Military Police 423 Company 1971-1973