Despite Severe Weather, Sentinels Guard Tomb of the Unknowns Around the Clock


"There were a couple of us out there. We could hear trees cracking around us," said Vincent. "We were staring at some of the larger trees, seeing if they'd come down."

But despite the rain and winds, Vincent chose to walk the mat about 10 to 15 times for a minute at a time. "It was pretty nice to see the rain falling sideways and hit me in the face," said Vincent.

READ: Soldiers Guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier During Hurricane Sandy

Relief commander Buelna said he was O.K. with Vincent's staying outside as long as he could still perform the mission safely. He recalls telling Vincent, "If you honestly think you can't continue, if your legs buckle, you need to let me know so we can go to regular postings."

Though Buelna has only been a sentinel for six months, he was speaking from experience. This past summer, every half hour he and two other soldiers conducted every single guard change for a full 24 hours.

The sentinels will sometimes undertake individual challenges during their watches over the tomb. "We feel honored to do something like that, it's rare, not many people have done that," said Buelna.

While the sentinels felt they were just doing their job, once word got out that they were still at the tomb, the internet buzzed with pride over their mission.

According to Buelna, "When we started checking our Facebook accounts and saw people commenting, it was a bit overwhelming, because this is what we do."

"We understand the public's view that to them this is noble and honorable, to us it's just the same," said Buelna with humility. "It's what we're going to do regardless of the weather, if it's hail, hot temperatures, rain or snow. Whatever the weather, we're going to be there."

Vincent said the sentinels don't do their jobs for recognition.

"Our main goal is to attract and educate the public so that they may better understand the sacrifices made by those who kept our country's freedom and safety intact. A soldier never dies until he is forgotten, a Tomb guard never forgets," Vincent said.

And they carried out their mission as some news photographers sneaked onto the grounds of the closed cemetery to take pictures of what was going on at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

They were told to leave and were reminded that the cemetery is a military post.

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