The Unknown Soldiers

Here Rests In Honored Glory An American Soldier Known But To God.

So reads the inscription etched into the white granite tomb that marks the resting place of America's official unknown soldiers. The Tomb of the Unknowns remains one of the United States' most revered sites, a permanent reminder of this country's commitment to honor those who died fighting for its freedom. Last week, that commitment was upheld in a way some people might not have even noticed or even thought about.

When practically every government employee in Washington was beating a hasty retreat to avoid the aftereffects of Hurricane Isabel, a small group of men decided their commitment to duty, honor and country was more important than personal safety or comfort.

Tomb Guard Sentinels, the elite soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry regiment chosen to act as guards at the Tomb, opted to sustain their constant vigil at the Tomb of the Unknowns rather than flee the oncoming bad weather. To them it was a matter of honoring their personal and professional obligations to the men and women who served before them and who serve now - and obviously do not have the luxury of serving their country only when skies are blue and the sun shines down upon them.

Although the Tomb of the Unknowns is watched over by Tomb Guards 24 hours a day, 365 days a year regardless of weather conditions, to have soldiers so duty-bound as to ignore their own personal well-being is an example of real patriotism and a real reminder of the sacrifices made to secure the principles of liberty.

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