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Be Positive Blog

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I don't know what blood type Jesus is, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's Positive!

  • You are positively covered by Jesus' Blood - cleansed, protected, righteous. 

  • You can be positive you're standing in God's Will for your life. 
  • Be positive about what you believe - certain, unwavering and able to back it up with multiple scriptural proofs. 

  • Trusting God assures you can keep a positive outlook regardless of circumstances. 

This is America

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

I came across a forwarded email my late husband sent me back in 2010. I have no idea who the original author was, but it stated it was in response to the fact that none of the three Jeopardy contestants one particular night could answer this question: How many steps does the guard take before turning around, to walk the length of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier?

The answer, and the rest of the information in the email, spoke to me, particularly in this week in history, of what America truly was, and what it will be again. I did some research to give you a better understanding of what the Guard personifies, and folded in the original 2010 email.

On the website of the Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, this statement arrested me:

Soldiers Never Die Until They Are Forgottten.

One soldier from each WWI, WWII and the Korean War are interred at the Tomb of the Unknowns. With the advent of mitochondrial DNA testing, the unknown Viet Nam Unknown was disinterred, identified and moved according to his family's wishes. Then his crypt cover was replaced with one inscribed “Honoring and Keeping Faith with America’s Missing Servicemen, 1958-1975." That crypt will remain empty.

The inscription on the Tomb of the Unknowns reads:

"Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God."

Honored glory -- for having given his life for the freedom of others. It brings to mind "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13)

Tomb Guards are members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, called "The Old Guard," which has served the U.S. since 1784. These carefully chosen few watch over the memorial every minute of every day, whether Arlington Cemetery is open or closed, regardless of weather (including a 2003 hurricane), regardless of crises in the world or in DC. It is considered a sacred assignment. Fewer Tomb Guard badges are awarded than any other badge in the Army. This testifies to the stringent qualifications, arduous training and exacting standards required to earn the right to guard those who gave their lives and even their identities in service to their country. Considering the whole of US Military, only one badge is awarded less often -- the Astronaut badge.

Guards must commit 2 years of their lives to watching over the tomb. They live in a barracks under the tomb, cannot drink any alcohol on or off duty for the rest of their lives, cannot swear in public for the rest of their lives and cannot disgrace the uniform or the tomb in any way. After the two year tour, the guard is given a wreath pin that is worn on their lapel signifying they served as a sentinel. The guard must obey these rules for the rest of their lives or give up the wreath pin. To date, 23 have been revoked out of a total over the years of 683 awarded.

Applicants for Tomb Guards must be between 5' 10" and 6' 2" tall, with a waist measurement not to exceed 30". Soldiers must complete three phases of testing to be accepted for training to become a Newman (guard in training who spends much of their day assisting with uniform preparation) and then to earn the badge that signifies they are fully qualified as Guard of the Tomb. These Sentinels demonstrate a high degree of proficiency in general Army/Tomb Guard knowledge, wear and appearance of the various uniforms and weapons worn by Tomb Guards while on duty, mastery of the various guard changes and ceremonies conducted at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, exact memorization and rewriting of 17 pages of knowledge down to its punctuation, and demonstrate verbal and written knowledge of over 12 different poems and 200 grave sites within Arlington National Cemetery. Only twenty percent of applicants are accepted for training, and only a fraction of those pass. The entire training lasts six to nine months and has a fail rate of 90%.

Guards' uniforms are ripped apart and rebuilt to sentinel standards. Five to eight hours a day is spent on preparing uniforms for a 200-point inspection, with parameters of 1/64th of an inch. Only two minor infractions get you kicked out. 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 the Guard comes to a halt. These shoes are polished repeatedly to the highest gloss. Guards dress for duty in front of a full-length mirror with the assistance of other guards. They moisten their gloves to prevent losing grip of the rifle. There are no wrinkles, folds or lint on the uniform when they leave the barracks for duty. No medal is out of place by more than 1/64th of an inch of regulation.

Guards work in 24-hour shifts. They “walk the mat” in front of the Tomb for anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours at a time, depending on the time of year and time of day. The Sentinel stops on the 21st step, then turns and faces the Tomb for 21 seconds. He then turns to face back down the mat, changes the weapon to the outside shoulder to signify that he stands between the tomb and any outside threat. He mentally counts off 21 seconds, then steps off for another 21-step walk down the mat. They face the Tomb at each end of the 21-step walk for 21 seconds. The Sentinel then repeats this over and over until the Guard Change ceremony begins. Everything is done in increments of 21 to represent the 21 Gun Salute, the highest military honor.

The first six months of duty, a guard cannot talk to anyone outside the barracks nor watch TV. All off-duty time is spent studying Tomb knowledge including the 200 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 Lewis {the boxer}

Medal of Honor winner Audie L. Murphy, the most decorated soldier of WWII, also of

Hollywood fame.

Tomb Guards never forget.

To a person wearing the uniform of the US Army, guarding the Tomb is not just an assignment, it is the highest honor that can be afforded to a serviceperson. The tomb has been patrolled continuously, 24/7, since 1937. When a Sentinel walks the mat, he wears no rank insignia, so as not to outrank any Unknown, whatever their rank may have been. The Unknowns have all been awarded the Medal of Honor as well as similar awards of the highest caliber from grateful foreign nations.

The Sentinels' creed states, "My standard will remain perfection." The rigorous testing and training, and the inspections and testing that take place every single time a guard is about to walk the mat, sound over the top to us. But there is solid reasoning behind the standard of perfection. Never able to achieve perfection, a Sentinel never grows complacent. And the purpose of their assignment is always in the forefront of their minds -- to honor those who have died for the ideals that made the United States the greatest country in the world.

There are only two countries founded on the love of God. Israel was founded because God loved His people. America was founded because we loved God. That is why I can confidently say America will rise again.

In God We Trust.


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