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Photographer's Note

I usually don't take photographs of people but the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was compelling enough to make me take this picture.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a monument that honours all the American military men who have died in combat and whose remains haven't been identified. It is located at the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

The March
The guard marches 21 steps south on the mat, turns towards east towards the tomb and waits 21 seconds. He then turns towards north, changes the rifle to the outside shoulder and waits 21 seconds again. He marches north in 21 steps, turns west and again waits 21 seconds before changing the rifle to the outside shoulder. He repeats this process till he is relieved by another soldier in the Changing of the Guard ceremony. 21 was chosen because it symbolises the 21 gun salute (which is a military honour). He does not wear any rank insignia so as not to outrank any of the unknown soldiers.

Changing of the Guard:
This ceremony happens every 30 minutes when the tomb is open to the public in the summer months. During winter, it is every hour. After the ceremony is closed to the public, the guard changes every two hours. It is a very solemn moment and I didn't feel like taking a picture while it was going on.

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