This photo was going around Facebook and on the news, in case you missed. If you know the photographer’s name, please send so I can credit him or her.* In our 24-7 news cycle, we may become inured to images of soldiers in hardship (or worse), and then a photo like this lands and stops you in your tracks. The quiet pride and dignity of it, the discipline, the honor.
This is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery, which even on the sunniest day you cannot fail to be moved by. And these fellows aren’t just anyone, they are the honor guard of the 3rd Infantry, also known as the “Old Guard,” the oldest active infantry unit in the U.S. military, and one of the most elite. The tomb guard’s history, requirements, and rituals are as inspiring as they are fascinating, if you’d like to read more…
My own Cowboy was an officer in the 3rd Infantry when Lincoln was president (okay Coolidge). My father was in the 82nd Airborne. My stepfather was a fighter pilot in the USMC. My cousin was an admiral in the Navy, also a fighter pilot, and at his retirement commander of the Allied Pacific forces (Sync-Pac). He is buried in Arlington. Claire, who sent this photo to my friend Kate, is the daughter of a Marine colonel who died in a Marine plane crash eight years ago. Kate’s own father and her husband were Marine Corps fighter pilots and her oldest son is a newly minted 1st lieutenant.
Honor and valor are two of humankind’s most beautiful acts. Our troops demonstrate these qualities everyday to defend this great country. And now this terrible storm puts in harm’s way our troops at home, our reserves, our first-responders, our friends, families and neighbors, any of whom may be called upon to demonstrate honor, courage, and God willing common sense. Please be careful all of you in Sandy’s path. Be intelligent, be sensible, be patient, be honorable.
*About the photo, I’ve heard since posting this that while the photo is authentic, the timing is not. Was actually not taken during hurricane but earlier in the year: http://www.cinemablend.com/pop/Fake-Hurricane-Sandy-Photos-Make-Rounds-During-Storm-48767.html and here: http://mashable.com/2012/10/29/fake-hurricane-sandy-photos/