The Unknowns, a documentary about the soldiers who guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, is debuting this Memorial Day weekend with select screenings. Now, audiences can find out more about the soldiers' preparation, training, uniform, and mindset, thanks to this documentary.
Thanks to Army veterans Ethan Morse and Neal Schrodetzki, who served at the Tomb, audiences everywhere have an unheard of access to the training and expectations of those who become Sentinels or Tomb Guard. The Tomb Badge is the least awarded medal in the Armed Forces, and those who achieve the opportunity of serving in this way hold it above all others.
Protecting and honoring those soldiers who have died and been left unidentified is the work of soldiers who are first stationed with the 3rd US Infantry Regiment of the Old Guard out of Fort Myer. But when they become Tomb Guards, these soldiers share how intense the training is and how high the honor is.
“It doesn’t matter if there’s one person out there watching or a thousand,” one Guard shared.
“No one knows what they’ve done or what their jobs were,” proposed another, “but they received the Medal of Honor. It matters what they represent.”
Through the ever-changing weather, the Guards stand as sentries and examples of the honor that all Americans should have for those who have served and died for their freedom. The film itself is a proposal that more respect should be paid to those who died - just in time for casual celebrations of Memorial Day around the country.
In a teaching segment provided to younger students, one of the Guards shared that between five and seven million people come to see the changing of the guard, but that only 250,000 come to pay their respect. That’s an absurdly small percentage, but it highlights the disconnect that the Guards observe when considering their honor and duty.
Whether it’s the competitive nature of being one of the select few who stand guard at the Tomb, or the way that their lives become a complete focus on representing these dead soldiers in their best possible way, the Guards of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier are worthy of our respect, even as they point to the fallen soldiers in honor through The Sentinel's Creed:
My dedication to this sacred dutyis total and whole-hearted.In the responsibility bestowed on menever will I falter.
And with dignity and perseverancemy standard will remain perfection.
Through the years of diligence and praiseand the discomfort of the elements,
I will walk my tour in humble reverence to the best of my ability.
It is he who commands the respect I protect,
his bravery that made us so proud.
Surrounded by well meaning crowds by day,
alone in the thoughtful peace of night,
this soldier will in honored glory rest
under my eternal vigilance.– Simon 1971
You can check out more about the film and find a screening near you here this weekend.