Arlington Cemetery

Arlington Cemetery

ARLINGTON CEMETERY 

zahira schmidt

Jeopardy Question:

On Jeopardy the other night, the final question was 
“How many steps does the guard take during his 
walk across the tomb of the Unknowns” —- 
All three contestants missed it! —

This is really an awesome sight to watch if you’ve 
never had the chance. 
Very fascinating. 

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

1. 
How many steps does the guard take during his 
walk across the tomb of the Unknowns 
and why? 

21 steps: 
It alludes to the twenty-one gun salute which 
is the highest honor given any military or foreign 
dignitary. 

2. 
How long does he hesitate after his about face 
to begin his return walk and why?

21 seconds for the same reason as answer number 1

3. 
Why are his gloves wet?

His gloves are moistened to prevent his losing his 
grip on the rifle.

4. 
Does he carry his rifle on the same shoulder all 
the time and, if not, why not?

He carries the rifle on the shoulder away from the 
tomb. After his march across the path, he 
executes an about face and moves the rifle to 
the outside shoulder. 

5. 
How often are the guards changed?

Guards are changed every thirty minutes, 
twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year.

6. 
What are the physical traits of the guard 
limited to? 

For a person to apply for guard duty at the tomb, he 
must be between 5′ 10′ and 6′ 2′ tall and 
his waist size cannot exceed 30. 

They must commit 2 years of life to guard the tomb, 
live in a barracks under the tomb, and cannot 
drink any alcohol on or off duty for the rest of 
their lives. They cannot swear in public for the 
rest of their lives and cannot disgrace the 
uniform or the tomb in any way. 

After two years, the guard is given a wreath pin that 
is worn on their lapel signifying they 
served as guard of the tomb. There are only 
400 presently worn. The guard must obey 
these rules for the rest of their 
lives or give up the wreath pin. 

The shoes are specially made with very thick soles 
to keep the heat and cold from their feet. 
There are metal heel plates that extend to 
the top of the shoe in order to make the loud click as 
they come to a halt. 

There are no wrinkles, folds or lint on the uniform.

Guards dress for duty in front of a full-length mirror. The first six months of duty a 
guard cannot talk to anyone nor watch TV. 
All off duty time is spent studying the 175 
notable people laid to rest in 
Arlington National Cemetery .
A guard must memorize who they are and where 
they are interred. Among the notables are: 

President Taft,
Joe Lewis {the boxer}
Medal of Honor winner Audie L. Murphy, the most 
decorated soldier of WWII and of Hollywood fame.   

Every guard spends five hours a 
day getting his uniforms ready for guard duty.. ETERNAL REST GRANT THEM O LORD AND LET PERPETUAL LIGHT 
SHINE UPON THEM.

In 2003 as Hurricane Isabelle was 
approaching Washington , 
DC , our US Senate/House took 2 days 
off with anticipation of the storm. On the ABC 
evening news, it was reported that because of 
the dangers from the hurricane, the military 
members assigned the duty of guarding the Tomb 
of the Unknown Soldier were given permission 
to suspend the assignment.

They respectfully declined the offer, “No way, 
Sir!” Soaked to the skin, marching in the 
pelting rain of a tropical storm, they said that 
guarding the Tomb was not just an assignment, 
it was the highest honor that can be afforded 
to a service person. The tomb has been patrolled 
continuously, 24/7, since 1930. 

God Bless and keep them. 

We can be very 
proud of our young men and women
in the service no matter where they serve. God Bless America!


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