At the Arlington National Cemetery, there is a memorial standing atop a hill overlooking Washington, D.C. The name of this memorial is the Tomb of the Unknowns. Buried here are the remains of unknown soldiers from the major wars of our history. Even though only a few are buried here, the memorial is a tribute to all the great men and women who died serving our country, but whose remains have never been identified.
Guarding the tomb are soldiers of the United States Army. These guards are held to extremely high standards. Everything from their uniform, height, weight, and even personal conduct is strictly scrutinized (Read More Here). It is considered an extremely high honor to be able to serve as a guard for the Tomb of the Unknowns. As a result, the dedication of these guards is clearly evident.
One guard is always present at the tomb, marching back and forth twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week. Each guard is replaced every thirty minutes in the warmer months, and every hour in the colder months. While watching over the graves, the guard goes through a meticulous routine centering on the number twenty-one (twenty-one steps, waiting twenty-one seconds, etc). This number was chosen because it symbolizes the highest military honor, the 21-gun salute.
In 2003, hurricane Isabelle approached Washington, D.C. Many took cover for days as they braced for the coming storm. Even these guards were given permission to suspend the guarding of the tomb. The soldiers respectfully declined. Through the brutal wind and rain the soldiers continued to march and guard the tomb. No matter the weather or situation, the soldiers have constantly guarded this tomb twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week, since 1930.
The Tomb of the Unknowns is an incredible and admirable tribute to all those who served our country. The memorial guards’ unwavering respect and dedication is truly outstanding. Our veterans deserve every second of honor they receive.
As Christians, so much can be learned from these guards. God is beyond worthy of our dedication. We should consider it the greatest of honors to serve Him (Philippians 1:21). We should hold ourselves to the highest standards for His name (Philippians 3:7-8). Our devotion should be constant (Luke 9:23). Our commitment should be unwavering (Psalm 51:10). Our loyalty should be solid and immovable (Psalm 1:1-3). Our honor, praise, and respect to the Lord should be sincere and heartfelt (Romans 12:1-2).
The Lord is worthy of every second of honor and praise we give Him. Let’s further dedicate ourselves to Him, giving Him the unwavering devotion He deserves. 1 Corinthians 15:58 concludes this best: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”