The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is located in Arlington National Cemetary and it’s guarded by Tomb Sentinels 24/7. The Sentinels represent one of the most difficult positions for the military to earn. Being a Sentinel requires a level of perfection and dedication that most people struggle to achieve. They stand guard in every weather condition, situation, and anything you can imagine and they do it in the most perfectionist way you can imagine. Their post changes every half hour and comes complete with an inspection of the rifle exchanged between Tomb Sentinels. A recent exchange was almost marred by a slight situation in which one of the Sentinels was stabbed by the rifle’s bayonet. The reaction of the guard has gone wildly viral, being shared almost everywhere you can imagine.
It’s nearly impossible to become a Tomb Sentinel and it’s reported that only about 10% of those who apply gain the honor to guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. These soldiers are selected wisely from the 3rd U.S. Infantry which is also sometimes referred to as “The Old Guard.” These soldiers are so disciplined that you could walk by and think they were a statue crafted from perfection. But sometimes we learn that perfection is nearly impossible as there was an incident where a soldier was stabbed by the rifle, but what happened next is the part that went viral.
As two guards were performing the white glove inspection of the rifle, a rare moment of imperfection occurred. The rifle fell from the relieving soldier’s hand and the bayonet stabbed the other Sentinel right in the foot. The blade went through the military shoe and pierced his foot all the way through. As he stood there bleeding with a blade in his foot, the guard carried on his routine and regained his perfection. There wasn’t a flinch nor a reaction other than his utmost respected continuance of the daily tradition.
The incident was caught on video and I must say, this is certainly worth sharing.
What would you do if you had a rifle bayonet stab you in the foot? Would you scream? Not these guards. They didn’t show any reaction at all. Their ability to keep their composure during any situation is what presents them as the most elite guards you will ever see. A brief accidental moment of imperfection was met with an unwavering ability to regain the previously attained perfection. Anyone else would’ve been jumping around like they stepped on hot coals, but not these Sentinels. Just imagine for one moment the blade of a rifle traveling through your entire foot in slow motion, bleeding, cutting your muscles, severing a tendon, and you stand there without a reaction because you’re so perfect at your job.
Now imagine the guard when he went home. Do you think he was hopping around and laughing it off? It reminds me of the Monty Python skit where they’re slicing limbs off the Black Knight with a sword. He responds by saying “tis but a scratch” and “it’s just a flesh wound” and this is one of the funniest Python skits that people remember.
The Black Knight won’t give up, but he certainly isn’t perfect. The Tomb Sentinels have the ability to be resilient in every situation they’re presented with. Had there been a Tomb Sentinel in the Monty Python movie, then we may have had a different outcome!
London has their own guards called the Queen’s Guards and they’re responsible for guarding the Queen’s residences. These guards are a lot more outspoken and aggressive with their shoe tapping and pointing of rifles.
If you’re ever in London, then you’ll recognize the Queen’s Guards instantly upon seeing them. Or you might hear them in the distance. They have a different type of job in comparison to the Tomb Sentinels. The Sentinels are extremely disciplined in perfection. The Queen’s Guard’s will call people out.
There have been times where the Tomb Sentinel guards will call out the public tourists for being noisy. Here’s one such video where the Sentinel moves in sheer robotic perfection and reminds the crowd they must be silent at all times.
Imagine being the noisy person there? That would be embarrassing, right? I would be ashamed if I was the person requiring a call out like this.
Here’s a more in-depth look at what it takes to become a Sentinel. This video is courtesy of The Old Guard.
How many of us think we could do this?
I don’t think I could, which is why I respect these guards with the absolute most respect I could possibly give. This is the kind of discipline we need in American public schools. Perhaps teachers should show these videos to their unruly students and some of the parents who have no clue how to run a household.
The Old Guard continues to stand by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the most prestigious and perfect way possible, even if one of their guards is accidentally stabbed in the foot!