Sometimes tourists feel that they’re above the rules. Maybe it is because they’re in a place that is unfamiliar with them. This might give them a sense of empowerment or entitlement because they feel that they should be allowed to explore everything within their line of sight. That’s why when one woman went to go visit a military tomb, she felt it was her “right,” her “duty” to step across the barrier and get an up-close and personal look at the burial site that was heavily guarded.
The Arlington National Cemetery welcomes about four million visitors every year. While many of these visitors are respectful and understanding of the military procedures and duties of those on guard, some people feel entitled to walk all over the cemetery as if it was their backyard.
That’s why the Tomb Sentinel at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier has to be on watch every moment of their shift. This is a position that requires them to patrol the area and guard over the tomb as a sign of respect, but also because visitors are known for causing problems with it.
It was not long after the end of World War II, in April 1948, when the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment set to watch over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Because this individual lost his life in the name of armed combat, the military felt it was their duty and honor to guard over this person who sacrificed everything in the name of the United States of America.
Visitors come to the Arlington National Cemetery to visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and to watch the Tomb Sentinels do their job and switch shifts. It is a ceremonial affair that inspires many people to this day because of its show of discipline and dedication to all things American.
The wreath-lacing ceremony is one such honor. This tradition invites two children to place an elegantly decorated wreath in front of the tomb. The attending soldiers salute the soldier as the wreath is laid before his tomb, and the gathered crowd gets to witness the amazing display.
One woman figured that her station in the display was not good enough. She decided to go around and cross a barrier to getting even closer to the tomb. However, she was met with quite a shock when her intrusion was promptly noticed by the soldiers on duty.
The sentinel waited no time to shout, “It is requested that all visitors stay behind the chain rails at all times!”
The woman immediately obeyed the man’s order. He said it with such ferocity and pride in his duty that she had no choice but to back off the forbidden area and to make sure she was more respectful to the unknown man who sacrificed his life for freedom in World War II.
This amazing moment was captured on camera by other tourists – one who was abiding the rules.
What do you think about the way the Tomb Sentinel responded to the trespasser?