Arlington National Cemetery noted this week it is witnessing its first snowfall of the year with a series of photos that show quiet stillness and dignified respect. 
 

Arlington National Cemetery in heavy snowfall, January 2022
The memorial is the mast of the lost USS Maine, sunk in 1898, an event that sparked the Spanish-American War. It was dedicated at the cemetery in 1915 after the warship was raised. (Photo: Elizabeth Fraser, U.S. Army/Arlington National Cemetery)
Arlington National Cemetery in heavy snowfall, January 2022
(Photo: Elizabeth Fraser, U.S. Army/Arlington National Cemetery)
Arlington National Cemetery in heavy snowfall, January 2022
(Photo: Elizabeth Fraser, U.S. Army/Arlington National Cemetery)
Arlington National Cemetery in heavy snowfall, January 2022
(Photo: Elizabeth Fraser, U.S. Army/Arlington National Cemetery)


Among the images were some of the Sentinels of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, who stand watch 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in any weather. 
 

A Tomb Sentinel Arlington National Cemetery in heavy snowfall, January 2022
(Photo: Elizabeth Fraser, U.S. Army/Arlington National Cemetery)


Drawn from volunteers of the Fort Myer-based 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as "The Old Guard," they are equipped with Vietnam-era M14 rifles rather than the more current M16 or M4 variants. Sergeants of the Guard carry one of four custom M17 9mm pistols, specially crafted for the unit by Sig Sauer. 
 

Arlington National Cemetery Tomb Sentinel in heavy snowfall, January 2022
(Photo: Elizabeth Fraser, U.S. Army/Arlington National Cemetery)


As explained by Arlington:

The Tomb Guard marches exactly 21 steps down the black mat behind the Tomb, turns, faces east for 21 seconds, turns, and faces north for 21 seconds, then takes 21 steps down the mat and repeats the process. (The number 21 symbolizes the highest military honor that can be bestowed, the 21-gun salute.) Next, the Sentinel executes a sharp "shoulder-arms" movement to place the weapon on the shoulder closest to the visitors, signifying that he or she stands between the Tomb and any possible threat.

The Old Guard has stood its post at the Tomb continually since 1948.

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