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The Walk May 25, 2009

Posted by Michael in Heroes.

At Arlington National Cemetary, it is done all day, all night, in every kind of weather, by the Sentinals of the United States Army.  I have witnessed The Walk, and it is very moving. Exactly twenty-one steps, in twenty-one seconds, to recall to mind a funeral with maximum military honors.

If you are in the Army, it is incredibly difficult to get into this unit, the Old Guard.  They take their job of guarding The Tomb very seriously.  They are normally  combat veterans, and are seriously prepared to defend The Tomb.

This video was first posted here by Dave in Texas, who noticed that you can hear a rifle salute in the background at around 2:35, for one of our fallen who is being laid to rest with military honors.  Just another day at Arlington National Cemetery.

Note the level of detail in the ceremonial inspection by the NCO before a new soldier is deemed worthy of doing The Walk.  It is necessary that his weapon and appearance are perfect.  The rifle is inspected every which way and stroked with white gloves, to make sure it is super-clean. The shoeshine is observed from all angles.  The back of the uniform is checked out for dandruff.

I think it is so cool that the Army does this. Someone is out there, all day, all night, in every kind of weather, long after the tourists are gone and the cemetery gates are closed.

In a freezing January rain in Washington, at 3 a.m., someone is doing The Walk at Arlington, to honor our fallen soldiers.

Happy Memorial Day to all of you.

May we never forget those whose sacrifice made this great country possible.

More information about The Walk here.


1. Douglas - May 25, 2009

Notice the inspection?

It’s pretty, but it’s still a real inspection.

I like the white glove rub part.

I know that walk, I wrote a “class” on it, as concerning the tomb of the unknowon.

1 hour of doug being RQUIRED to talk about something for an hour.

and mike is right.

21, 21, 21, 21 , 21

7 times 21

seven salutes, in groups of 21.

I’ve seen it, I trained for it a bit.

but I was too short believe it or not. Must be 6’2 for 8th and I.

Its beautiful, so effing beautiful.

21 7 times, my god! how can others NOT know how special they are?

2. kevlarchick - May 25, 2009

I’ve seen it and stood silently in awe. I loved it. I’ve read those men also stay at post during the rare hurricane in that area.

What happens if the uniform has a speck of dirt or the rifle a speck of dust? Is the guard dismissed in disgrace or does the inspector simply clean it off and scowl?

3. Dave in Texas - May 25, 2009

Never seen one have to do that. I doubt you ever will.

4. kevlarchick - May 25, 2009

Is the weapon loaded?

5. Dave in Texas - May 25, 2009

Nope. There’s no magazine in the weapon, and when the Commander of the Relief does his inspection he opens the breech, no bullet comes flyin out.

Still that pointy thing on the end…

6. Cathy - May 25, 2009

So good to see that there are still places in this country where the pursuit of honor, respect, integrity, perfection, and devotion remain.

Seen this several times while living in Maryland, and could not stop the tear flow down my cheeks.

7. Dave in Texas - May 25, 2009


8. PattyAnn - May 25, 2009

I would love to see this.

No disrespect intended, but Happy Birthday, Cathy.

9. MCPO Airdale - May 25, 2009

I have been to the National Cemetery many times. I lived near the chapel there for 6 months and got to know many of the guys in the Old Guard.

If you can, you must certainly visit this truly unique place. I hope one day to have my rest there.

10. kevlarchick - May 25, 2009

There is a ladies room right next to the room where the soldiers prepare for duty. I walked past and I could hear them in there yukking it up and goofing around just like any other group of young men. God bless them.

11. harrison - May 25, 2009

They chose to stay out during the hurricane that came through some years ago, too.

12. Dave in Texas - May 25, 2009

There is something very humbling about being at Arlington. Hard to describe. Ernie Pyle wrote about that feeling, being in the presence of the fallen.

It is a beautiful and sober place.

13. xbradtc - May 25, 2009

What happens if the uniform has a speck of dirt or the rifle a speck of dust? Is the guard dismissed in disgrace or does the inspector simply clean it off and scowl?

In reality, the Commander of the Relief inspects the incoming sentinel before they go out. That’s the real inspection, to make sure the troop is up to standard.

14. kevlarchick - May 25, 2009

Yesterday my dad was picking up Mr Kevlar at the airport. A soldier arrived home 24 hours earlier than expected (not sure how that happens) and had no ride home. So they took him home.

He has a two week R&R to see his lady and then return to Baghdad for another six months. God Bless him.

15. Dave in Texas - May 25, 2009

Good on your dad KC.

There’s a vid over at AoS that shows some of the prep work going on before the changing of the guard.


Also, the second vid about PFC. Madaras is a killer, but very worth watching.

16. geoff - May 25, 2009

A happy and contemplative Memorial Day to everybody.

17. Michael - May 25, 2009

There’s a country called Malawi? Where the heck is that?

18. Lipstick - May 25, 2009

It’s in southern Africa.

19. kevlarchick - May 25, 2009

An old college friend of mine was in the Peace Corps in Malawi.

20. Michael - May 25, 2009

It’s in southern Africa.

Heh, heh, heh.

I was wondering who would fall for that.

*Michael sips iced tea and rum, casts an appreciative glance at Lipstick*

I gotta cook meat with fire now. We have company.

21. Will - May 25, 2009

The only time I’ve had the opportunity to see the Changing of the Guard was back in 7th grade. I was a little young to fully appreciate what I was seeing. I need to get back there and see it again.

22. Michael - May 25, 2009

Since when does the Isle of Man, this flyspeck in the English Channel, get credit for having it’s own flag? It’s just part of the U.K. that has a special legal status so it can serve as a tax haven.

This flag counter is kinda bogus. They are padding the count. They even gave us an extra flag for a hit from occupied Palestinian territory. In my opinion, that hit should have been added to Israel’s count.

Don’t get me started on Puerto Rico’s flag showing up. That is U.S. territory. We conquered that island fair and square. Suck it, Spain.

23. Michael - May 25, 2009

I am impressed by the fact that we got visited by the one person left in Zimbabwe who can still afford an internet connection, notwithstanding the efforts of President Mugabe to totally wreck the country.

24. harrison - May 25, 2009

…we got visited by the one person left in Zimbabwe who can still afford an internet connection…

That was Mugabe.

25. Lipstick - May 25, 2009

^^ Ha!

Yes, Michael, I was playing along in order to keep in your good graces and avoid the re-education camp. It’s working!

26. Edward Von Bear - May 25, 2009


You also have had a hit from the USVI.

I was in Arlington a few years ago a part of my old job, and saw the changing of the guard. Between that and the rows and rows of tombstones, it is something.

In STL, we have Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. It is something to behold.

27. Dave in Texas - May 26, 2009

All hallowed ground Ed.

OT, I know “Planet Earth” on Discovery is really cool and all (especially in HD!), but at some point you gotta admit the plot is basically critters having lunch.

I know, I know, kevlarchick would implore me to remember “animals are people too”.

To which I would add, “sure they are. Hungry, relentless, violent killer people. At dinnertime.”

Kind of like preteen boys and pizza, but bloodier.

28. Edward Von Bear - May 26, 2009


JB is only a few minutes from my house. In fact, when Michael Blassie was identified as the Unkown Soldier in the Tomb of the Unkowns, they buried him here in STL, since he was from this area.

29. Pupster - May 26, 2009

Hey Lipstick,

You asked me a while back if I was still in Pittsburgh? It wasn’t 5 minutes later that I got a call from the Project Manager asking me to return for a few days.

I’ll be back there Wednesday – Friday this week.

Gonna go here for dinner on Thursday, I’ve never been.

30. Lipstick - May 26, 2009

I don’t know how people can eat those things. This is why there are so many fat people in Pittsburgh. 😉

31. Edward Von Bear - May 26, 2009

Typical Steelers Fan

32. Lipstick - May 26, 2009

They’re recruiting her as a linebacker.

33. Mrs. Peel - May 26, 2009

We need a new post. I feel guilty going off-topic on this one.

(btw: greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. Or something to that effect.)

34. Vmaximus - May 26, 2009

A couple of Pics of Max
Max Grass
I miss my buddy Max
I knew this was a good pic, buy it has over 150 views and 6 comments. I think this is my most popular pic.
I bet I get stuck in the spam bucket with all the links
Sorry Michael

35. Retired Geezer - May 27, 2009

They’re recruiting her as a linebacker the defensive line.


36. Joey Buzz - May 27, 2009

Thanks for posting that. Although he didnt “walk the walk” my father served in that unit in the late 50s.

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