This soldier was standing guard during a memorial ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. A group of tourists was standing close-by, and they can be heard chattering loudly in the background of the video below. When the group begins to laugh, the soldier halts and turns to face the noisy guests and requests silence and respect. It’s amazing how quickly the bystanders go silent. They are immediately put in their place and reminded of why this memorial exists in the first place: to give honor and respect to those soldiers who bravely fought to protect American freedom.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is the burial site of an unidentified American soldier from World War I. This burial was approved on March 4, 1921 by Congress, but it wasn’t until Memorial Day, 1921 that the unknown soldier was selected from a group of four unknowns removed from American cemeteries in France. U.S. Army Sergeant Edward F. Younger, who received the Distinguished Service Medal and who was revered for his valor, was chosen to determine which of these four would be placed at the memorial. Facing four anonymous caskets, Sgt. Younger made his choice and placed white roses atop the casket that would be taken to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Now, almost 100 years later, the soldiers that stand guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier protect an important history. This one particular unknown soldier stands as a representation of all those who fought bravely in war, but went missing. They gave up their lives for a higher cause, a cause that all too often gets taken for granted: that cause is protecting the freedom of the American people. So when a group of tourists shows up to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and begins laughing, they disrespect everything that this memorial stands for. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a place for reverence, reflection, and most importantly respect. It is a reminder to always be thankful for those who have fought for and protected your freedom.
What do you think of what this soldier said to the tourists? Do you think he should have been harsher, or do you think this is the perfect balance of poise and assertiveness? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!