Severe weather doesn't deter Tomb Sentinel from doing sacred duty at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.

Sgt. Jose A. Torres, Jr./DVIDS

SEE: Tornado warning, severe thunderstorms doesn't deter Arlington National Cemetery Tomb Sentinel

May 27, 2019 - 10:31 am

By Ben Krimmel

The sky darkened around Washington, D.C. Thursday afternoon at the start of Memorial Day weekend.

An intense thunderstorm raged through, with wind gusts reaching as high as 70 to 80 mph, causing damage across the region from downed trees. A tornado was confirmed a few miles north of the District. The National Weather Service investigated whether another touched down near the National Mall and Tidal Basin, but after surveying damage said it was "inconclusive." 

As mobile phones buzzed, alerting residents to stay indoors, at America's most hallowed grounds, Arlington National Cemetery, this would be no time to stop a sacred duty.

"Trees as old as the cemetery itself broke at the trunk and came crashing down. But America's Regiment endured," the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) wrote on Facebook. "They found low ground and held fast through the wind and the rain. Some had to be ordered to stand down from planting flags, still determined to continue to honor the fallen."

And one of the most extraordinary displays of dedication to duty occurred at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. With thunder echoing and wind howling in the air, a Tomb Sentinel approached with flags in hand determined to do his duty: He kneeled and placed the flags. 

As the Sentinel's Creed says: "Through the years of diligence and praise and the discomfort of the elements, I will walk my tour in humble reverence to the best of my ability." 

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