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History of the United States
US Military
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Why does the old guard keep day and night vigils at the Tomb of Unknown Soldiers?

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December 05, 2014 3:22PM

A 24-hour military guard has been posted at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier since July 2, 1937. The Old Guard assumed those duties on April 6, 1948.

The vigil is kept as a representation of our nation's gratefulness and respect for the sacrifices made by the unknown soldiers. In the words of Tomb Guards:

GUARD OF HONOR, TOMB OF THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER. RESPONSIBLE FOR MAINTAINING THE HIGHEST STANDARDS AND TRADITIONS OF THE UNITED STATES ARMY AND THIS NATION WHILE KEEPING A CONSTANT VIGIL AT THIS NATIONAL SHRINE. WHOSE SPECIAL DUTY IS TO PREVENT ANY DESECRATION OR DISRESPECT DIRECTED TOWARD THE TOMB OF THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER.

In other words, the Old Guard keeps vigil to show our respect for those who have gave up their lives for us and to show our gratitude.