Most people want to do their job well. This desire is instilled in us from youth. We are taught to do our best in everything we do whenever possible. Commitment to excellence and having a strong work ethic are qualities essential not only for our success in life, but for developing strength of character and a sense of integrity.
The Sentinel Creed
Sentinel soldiers or Tomb Guards, which stand watch at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider, epitomize excellence and take pride in the work they do. These hand-picked guards spend countless hours in intensive training for 12 months before they ever set foot on the hallowed grounds in an official capacity. They are taught the importance of what they do and not only serve but live their lives according to the Sentinel Creed, which makes the actions of one particular Tomb Guard exceptional and ordinary at the same time.
Beyond the call of duty
On this particular day, the soldier was performing his Tomb Guard duties with the excellence and solemness expected and required, when he heard laughing and lighthearted chatter in the crowd. In ceremonious fashion, he stopped, did an about face and addressed the crowd. Using an authoritative voice, while still maintaining a stoic posture he asked the crowd to remain silent and respectful while at the tomb. The chatting and giggling stopped instantly. He could have ignored the crowd as soldiers are frequently taught to do when in an official capacity. But his commitment to excellence, respect for the fallen and dedication to live out his creed forced him to go beyond the call of duty and demand the well-earned reverence these fallen soldiers deserve.
A hero among heroes
That day, this young soldier became a hero to so many. News of his actions coupled with this video went viral. Veterans and patriots across the nation cheered the bravery this soldier displayed. He demanded respect for the heroes that fought so hard for our right to live in a free and enterprising nation. He stood among heroes…and in that moment, he became one of them.