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Poignant photo shows soldier placing flag at Tomb of the Unknowns during torrential rain

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Ahead of Memorial Day weekend, an "Old Guard" soldier honored a fallen service member with an awe-inspiring display of patriotism at Arlington National Cemetery. Last week, a member of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment was seen placing a flag on the Tomb of the Unknown Solider as heavy rain poured on, gaining admiration for the tribute. 

The Army regiment posted moving photos of the moment on their Facebook page Friday, just three days before Memorial Day. The Old Guard's post described how storms bringing torrential rain and strong wind gusts prompted visitors to run for cover, but "America's Regiment endured." 

Yesterday, torrential rain and drastic wind gusts overcame America’s most hallowed grounds. Visitors ran for cover. News...

Posted by 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) on Friday, May 24, 2019

"During the storm, one of the most extraordinary displays of discipline and dedication to duty ever to be witnessed at Arlington National Cemetery was taking place at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier,"  the page's caption read. "With only a few watching from cover, a Tomb Sentinel approached the Unknowns with U.S. flags in hand. As thunder shook the ground and rains washed down without abandon, the Tomb Sentinel pierced through the elements with breath-taking precision. He knelt and placed the flags in honor of the Unknowns." 

The Old Guard said, "For the select few who saw this moment, it was jaw-dropping. Humans have their limits, but The Old Guard has yet to meet theirs." The solider was identified in the comments underneath the post as Tyler McKee. 

CBS affiliate WUSA reports the storms in the D.C. area brought down a significant number of trees, knocked out power to thousands and destroyed several homes. 

The following day, the Old Guard uploaded a video clip of the solider before he placed the flags at the Tomb of the Unknowns as dozens hid underneath cover. The caption for the post Saturday said: "America's Regiment is committed to giving our utmost to those that gave their all."

Tomb Sentinel during Flags In

After the overwhelmingly positive response to our Flags In coverage, we feel an obligation to share this unfinished clip. It shows just how bad the conditions actually were at the plaza moments before the Tomb Sentinel placed the U.S. flags for the Unknowns. Watch it with sound to get the full effect. America’s Regiment is committed to giving our utmost to those that gave their all.

Posted by 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) on Saturday, May 25, 2019

The Old Guard conducts memorial affairs to honor fallen comrades and special events to represent the U.S. Army. Every year, the Old Guard places flags at each cemetery at Arlington National Cemetery before Memorial Day.   

According to the Old Guard's website, a sentinel on duty crosses a 63-foot rubber surface walkway in exactly 21 steps, and then faces the Tomb of the Unknown Solider for 21 seconds, pausing an additional 21 seconds, before retracing his steps.  The 21 is symbolic of the highest salute accorded to dignitaries in military and state ceremonies. 

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