Some of you know, others may not. I am a veteran of the United States Army Infantry. While in the Army, I had the honor of serving as a Sentinel at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. From 28 Dec 93-14 Nov 95 I walked my tour in humble reverence. It is a rare honor to be down there. The badge I earned, #408, is a badge that has fewer recipients than the Congressional Medal of Honor. We are few in numbers and a tight bunch. The best way to describe it is a family.
Today, 28 October, 2010, I received a message that one of our brothers fell in combat in Afghanistan. His name is Adam Dickmyer, badge #528. Let me say that losing any service member is a tragedy and its affects are felt wide and far. This particular loss hits very close to home.
So as you read this, as you go to a play, drive to work, grocery shop, speak your mind in a debate, vote, go surfing, paint a picture or any other activity you do on a daily basis that may be anything from mundane to earth shattering, remember this. Remember that there are those out there that have sacrificed everything for us to be able to do this. They gave up everything for complete strangers, including their lives.
I wrote a poem before I took my last walk at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The last walk is a very emotional ceremony. Mine occurred on 14 November, 1995. I read this poem right after I walked.
In the bitter cold of Winter
when no one is around
and the blazing heat of Summer
with endless crowds abound
He cares not who comes and goes in his life
or who stands outside the chains
His only goal, a heartfelt mission
is to guard the unknown remains
No one knows where he has been
Nor where he will go
Except for the four that lay in the ground
For only they truly know
and when the Sentinel is in Valhalla
he'll hear the four cry
thank you for watching over us
thank you for standing by
Rest In Peace, brother Tomb Guard.
Adam Dickmyer, badge #528, KIA 28 October 2010 in Afghanistan