The other day Malamute told me about how the Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment’s “The Old Guard” stood watch over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier through Hurricane Sandy. In truth, I hadn't really thought much about what the Old Guard would be doing during Hurricane Sandy, because they guard the tomb through everything. But when I stopped to think about it, this is truly remarkable.
For those of you who don't know, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a monument that represents all of the servicemen and women who have died without being identified or have gone missing in action. Becoming a guard for the Tomb is a highly selective process and only those who meet the most stringent requirements make it.
Guarding the tomb at all time represents (and here I'm starting to get teary, and I don't think it's just the pregnancy hormones) that no matter what happens to a serviceman, whether he's never heard from again, died in a POW camp, or the body was never found, that he will always, always be remembered and honored. Just like your comrades in arms have your back in this life, they will continued to have your back in the hereafter. Forever.
And forever means even in a hurricane. And so, the Old Guard's steadfast watch represents their commitment to never forget those who have been lost, even when it's difficult.
But I think it means something even more than that. Frankly, we've become a nation of whiners. And whenever we hit a problem, we complain about how we can't do this or that and how hard things are. The Old Guard is a breath of fresh air. Here are people who aren't going to let anything stop them from fulfilling something isn't even just a duty, but an act of love and compassion. Even a hurricane won't stop them from their goal.
So, even though the members of the Old Guard will probably never read this blog post, let me say, I salute you. Thank you for giving your best not only to your fallen comrades, but to the rest of us. I know that the spirits of those long gone have been with you in your darkest hour.