How To Avoid Getting Yelled At Visiting The Tomb Of The Unknowns | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

How To Avoid Getting Yelled At Visiting The Tomb Of The Unknowns

Becoming a Sentinel at the Tomb of the Unknowns is considered one of the highest honors in the United States Army.
Tom Smith: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tomfs/2081259685/
Becoming a Sentinel at the Tomb of the Unknowns is considered one of the highest honors in the United States Army.

One of the biggest draws at Arlington National Cemetery is The Tomb of the Unknowns, a monument dedicated to American service members who have died without their remains being identified. The Tomb is guarded by the stoic-faced Sentinels, soldiers of the United States Army's 3rd Infantry Regiment, whose meticulous march draws thousands of tourists every year.

The majority of people who visit the site observe the decorum due a fallen member of the armed services. That is what made a YouTube video recently posted on the social aggregation site Reddit so shocking.

The video shows a Sentinel "walking the mat," with his M14 rifle on his shoulder. In the background, one can hear the sound of several visitors laughing and talking. The Sentinel steps off the mat and in a commanding voice, loudly asks that everyone present maintain an atmosphere of silence. One can almost feel the vicarious embarrassment over the Internet.

"What you see on the video is almost verbatim what they are taught to say," says Maj. John Miller, regiment spokesman. "It is something that they rehearse during their training."

Sgt 1st Class Tanner Welch, a member of the Old Guard, says usually there is no ill will on the part of visitors. He says children sometimes get loose, and people will often drop water bottles and chase them under the chains. Another video on YouTube appears to show just that.

"It happens more often than most people would think," Welch says. "I wouldn't say it's a daily occurrence, but every few days or so."

And lest you worry about the safety of children or others who are incapable of restraining their outbursts, Miller says Sentinels will not bodily confront visitors who fail to heed their warnings.

"There is a public safety officer that works for Arlington National Cemetery that is nearby most of the time, and they would be the ones to ask them to leave the cemetery premises," Miller says.

Even so, after watching that video, it's probably best not to test them.

NPR

The Exquisite Dissonance Of Kehinde Wiley

The Brooklyn Museum's mid-career Wiley retrospective wraps up this week; his large, elaborate works depict black men and women in traditional forms like oil, bronze sculture and even stained glass.
NPR

In New Jersey, A Beef Over Pork Roll Sparks Rival Festivals

What is pork roll? As one fan puts it, "It's like Spam meets bacon." And this Saturday, Trenton, N.J., will host not one, but two competing festivals devoted to this Garden State meat delicacy.
NPR

Fast-Track Trade Authority, A Step Toward Asia Deal, Passes Full Senate

The bill still must clear the House. The measure would clear the way for President Obama's Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is unpopular with labor groups and some Democrats.
NPR

The Future Of Cardiology Will Be Shown In 3-D

The Living Heart Project aims to create a detailed simulation of the human heart that doctors and engineers can use to test experimental treatments and interventions.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.