Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

On Jeopardy the other night, the final question was “How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the tomb of the Unknown Soldiers?”

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier— All three missed it — 

  • The guard takes 21 steps during his walk across the tomb of the Unknowns.  It alludes to the twenty-one gun salute which is the highest honor given any military or foreign dignitary.
  • He pauses for 21 seconds after his about face to begin his return walk for the same reason.
  • His gloves are moistened to prevent his losing his grip on the rifle.
  • He carries the rifle on the shoulder away from the tomb.  After his march across the path, he executes an about face and moves the rifle to the outside shoulder.
  • Guards are changed every thirty minutes, twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year.
  • For a person to apply for guard duty at the tomb, he must be between 5′ 10′ and 6′ 2′ tall and his waist size cannot exceed 30.
  • They must commit 2 years of life to guard the tomb, live in a barracks under the tomb, and cannot drink any alcohol on or off duty for the rest of their lives.  They cannot swear in public for the rest of their lives and cannot disgrace the uniform or the tomb in any way.
  • After two years, the guard is given a wreath pin that is worn on their lapel signifying they served as guard of the tomb. There are only 400 presently worn.  The guard must obey these rules for the rest of their lives or give up the wreath pin.
  • The shoes are specially made with very thick soles to keep the heat and cold from their feet. There are metal heel plates that extend to the top of t he shoe in order to make the loud click as they come to a halt.
  • There are no wrinkles, folds or lint on the uniform.  Guards dress for duty in front of a full-length mirror.  Every guard spends five hours a day getting his uniforms ready for guard duty.
  • The first six months of duty a guard cannot talk to anyone nor watch TV.  All off duty time is spent studying the 175 notable people laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.  A guard must memorize who they are and where they are interred.  Among the notables are: President Taft Joe Lewis {the boxer} Medal of Honor winner Audie Murphy, the most decorated soldier of WWII of Hollywood fame.
  • In 2003 as Hurricane Isabelle was approaching Washington DC, the US Senate/House took 2 days off with anticipation of the storm. On the ABC evening news, it was reported that because of the dangers from the hurricane, the military members assigned the duty of guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier were given permission to suspend the assignment.  They respectfully declined the offer.  Soaked to the skin, marching in the pelting rain of a tropical storm, they said that guarding the Tomb was not just an assignment, it was the highest honor that can be afforded to a serviceperson.
  • The tomb has been patrolled continuously, 24/7, since 1930.

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Lost in Translation

The world is getting smaller.  All the more reason to double check those translations.  Here are some funny examples of translations into English from around the world.

In a Bucharest hotel lobby:
“The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable.”

In an advertisement by a Hong Kong dentist:
“Teeth extracted by the latest Methodists.”

In a Tokyo hotel:
“Is forbidden to steal hotel towels please. If you are not a person to do such thing is please not to read notis.”

On the menu of a Swiss restaurant:
“Our wines leave you nothing to hope for.”

At a Bangkok dry cleaners:
“Drop your trousers here for best results.”

In a hotel in Athens:
“Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11 am daily.”

Alongside a Hong Kong tailor shop:
“Ladies may have a fit upstairs.”

Advertisement for donkey rides in Thailand:
“Would you like to ride on your own ass?”

In a Belgrade hotel elevator:
“Please leave your values at the front desk.”

At a Rhodes tailor shop:
“Order your summer suit. Because is big rush we will execute customers in strict rotation.”

In a Japanese hotel:
“You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.”

A sign posted in Germany’s Black Forest:
“It is strictly forbidden on our Black Forest camping site that people of different sex, for instance, men and women, live together in one tent unless they are married with each other for that purpose.”

Two signs from a Majorcan shop entrance:
“English well talking. Here speeching American.”

Outside a Paris dress shop:
“Dresses for street walking.”

In an Austrian hotel catering to skiers:
“Not to perambulate the corridors in the hours of repose in the boots of ascension.”

In a Swiss mountain inn:
“Special today: no ice cream.”

From the Soviet Weekly:
“There will be a Moscow exhibition of arts by 15,000 Soviet Republic painters and sculptors. These were executed over the past two years.”

In a Zurich hotel:
“Because of the impropriety of entertaining guests of the opposite sex in the bedroom, it is suggested that the lobby be used for this purpose.”

In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Monastery:
“You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian and Soviet composers, artists, and writers are buried daily except Thursday.”

The sign in a Norwegian lounge reads:
“Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar.”

Tacked on the door of a Moscow hotel room:
“If this is your first visit to Russia, you are welcome to it.”

An airline ticket office in Copenhagen reminds you:
“We take your bags and send them in all directions.”

In a certain African hotel you may choose between:
“A room with a view on the sea or the backside of the country.”

A sign on a clothing store in Brussels read:
“Come inside and have a fit.”

A hotel notice in Madrid informs:
“If you wish disinfection enacted in your presence, please cry out for the chambermaid.”

The room service in a Lisbon hotel tells you:
“If you wish for breakfast, lift the telephone and ask for room service. This will be enough for you to bring your food up.”

This sign was posted in a Scottish harbor:
“For sale boat single owner green in colour.”

A sign at Budapest’s zoo requests:
“Please do not feed the animals. If you have any suitable food give it to the guard on duty.”

A Polish hotel informs prospective visitors in a flyer:
“As for the trout served you at the hotel Monopol, you will be singing its praise to your grandchildren as you lie on your deathbed.”

The concierge in a Sorrento hotel lets guests know he’s on the job:
“Contact the concierge immediately for informations. Please don’t wait last minutes then it will be too late to arrange any inconveniences.”

Some German hospitals now display the sign:
“No children allowed in the maternity wards.”

The sign at the concierge’s desk in an Athens hotel reads:
“If you consider our help impolite, you should see the manager.”

Visitors in Czechoslovakia are invited by the tourist agency to:
“Take one of our horse-driven city tours – we guarantee no miscarriages.”

A Rome laundry suggests:
“Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time.”

A notice in a Vienna hotel urges:
“In case of fire do your utmost to alarm the hall porter.”

And finally, a London eatery advertised for help this way:
“Wanted: man to wash dishes and two waitresses.”

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The Legend of the Old Dog

'Old' DogOne day, an old dog is chasing rabbits and before long discovers that he’s lost.  Wandering about, he notices a mountain lion heading rapidly in his direction with the intention of having him for lunch.

The old dog thinks, ‘Oh man, I’m in deep now!’  Noticing some bones on the ground close by, he immediately settles down to chew on the bones with his back to the approaching cat.  Just as the mountain lion is about to leap, the old dog exclaims loudly, “Boy, that was one delicious mountain lion! I wonder if there are any more around here.”

Hearing this, the young mountain lion halts his attack in mid-strike, a look of terror comes over him, and he slinks away into the trees.  “Whew!” says the mountain lion.  “That was close! That old dog nearly had me!”

Meanwhile, a squirrel who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree figures he can put the knowledge of the dog’s trickery to good use and trade it for protection from the mountain lion.  So, off he goes.  However, the old dog sees him heading after the mountain lion with great speed, and figures that something must be up.

The squirrel soon catches up with the mountain lion, spills the beans, and strikes a deal for himself with the mountain lion.  The young mountain lion is furious at being made a fool of and says, “Here squirrel.  Hop on my back and see what’s going to happen to that scheming canine!”

Now, the old dog sees the mountain lion coming with the squirrel on his back and thinks, ‘What am I going to do now?’ Instead of running, the dog sits down with his back to his attackers pretending he hasn’t seen them yet. Just when they get close enough to hear, the old dog says…

“Where is that squirrel? I sent him off an hour ago to bring me another mountain lion!”


The moral of the story?

Don’t underestimate the old dogs. Youth and enthusiasm is one thing, but grace under pressure comes from experience.

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