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The Snoop 1.8.2015

Several months ago, I was handed a folder containing various pieces of information, facts, and stories. I was told I might find some of the information interesting. I certainly did. Although I am just now getting around to sharing some of the contents, that does not mean I had ignored it until now. Be patient with me, Jean. I’ll eventually get around to sharing more of it with our readers.
I’m told the following was initiated by a question (or answer) from Jeopardy. The topic was “Arlington Cemetery” and the answer given was: “The number of steps the guard takes during his walk across the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.” We are told all three contestants missed the question.
Following is the question to that answer (you have to know Jeopardy for that to make sense) along with some other related facts.
Q. How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the Tomb of the Unknowns and why?
A. 21 steps. It alludes to the 21-gun salute which is the highest honor given any military or foreign dignitary.
Q How long does he hesitate after his about face to begin his return walk and why?
A. 21 seconds for the same reason as answer No. 1.
Q. Why are his gloves wet?
A. His gloves are moistened to prevent his losing his grip on the rifle.
Q.  Does he carry his rifle on the same shoulder all the time and if not, why not?
A. 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.
Q. How often are the guards changed?
A. Guards are changed every 30 minutes, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Q. What are the physical traits of the guard limited to?
A. 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 inches.
Other requirements of the guard: they must commit two 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 (fighting) or the tomb in any way. After two years, the guard is given a wreath pin that is worn on his lapel signifying he served as guard of the tomb. There are only 400 presently worn. The guard must obey these rules for the rest of his life 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.
For 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 E. Lewis (the boxer), and Medal of Honor winner Audie Murphy (the most decorated soldier of World War II) of Hollywood fame.
Every guard spends five hours a day getting his uniform ready for guard duty.
Other notable information:
In 2003 as Hurricane Isabel was approaching Washington, D.C., our US Senate/House took two days off in 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 pelting rain of a tropical storm, they said that guarding to 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.
Additional information:
Some people think that when the cemetery is closed to the public in the evening that this show stops. First, to the men who are dedicated to this work, it is no show. It is a “charge of honor.” The formality and precision continues uninterrupted all night. During the nighttime, the drill of relief and the measured step of the on-duty sentry remain unchanged from the daylight hours. To these men, these special men, the continuity of this post is the key to the honor and respect shown to these honored dead, symbolic of all unaccounted for American combat dead. The steady rhythmic step in rain, sleet, snow, hail, heat and cold must be uninterrupted. Uninterrupted is the important part of the honor shown.