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Tomb of the Unknowns

32 Comments

A soldier from the U.S. Army's Old Guard honor guard holds a wreath for Japan's Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara to lay at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on Friday.

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Looks freezing there.

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Nice picture 1!!!

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why is it you go to their cemetary and honor their dead, while no yank will even come close to hiroshima or nagasaki???

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Between the hats and the shades, it's tough to take those guards seriously..

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sharpie at 08:15 AM JST - 8th January why is it you go to their cemetary and honor their dead, while no yank >will even come close to hiroshima or nagasaki???

First off the equivalent of Arlington in Japan would be the Yasukuni Shrine, not Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Secondly Nancy Pelosi has been to Hiroshima and US Ambassador Roos attended the Hiroshima Ceremony this summer.

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Cosidering how the Honor Guards and the spectators are dressed you'd think FM Maehara should be wearing at least a coat.

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Something is funny about the size of the heads and the height of the soldiers. Is it the uniform?

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why is it you go to their cemetary and honor their dead, while no yank will even come close to hiroshima or nagasaki???

Have you ever been to Hiroshima? because it's always crawling with Americans. The museum often seems to have more American visitors than Japanese.

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while no yank will even come close to hiroshima or nagasaki???

The US equivalent to Hiroshima or Nagasaki would be Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial, not Arlington.

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Out of the 71/2 people on the photo, Maehara san is the best looking. Someone please tell me, why are the two soldiers' figures dispropotionate.

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I am really surprised to see this...

It might very well be their response to the U.S. Ambassador's visit to Hiroshima.

But I think he must really want something else...

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Totally wierd scene. And not just who designed the guard's uniforms, but who designed the wreath. A big red dot in the middle? The whole scene needs a makeover by Japanese designers.

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the guards look weird man, are they mannequinns maybe..........

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mindovermatter at 09:50 AM JST - 8th January I am really surprised to see this... It might very well be their response to the U.S. Ambassador's visit to >Hiroshima.

PM Koizumi went to Arlington too. I wouldn't be surprised if other visiting Japanese ministers had before this as well.

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Daaaruma san ga koronda!

Haha, Maehara you moved! You're out.

No, it was the wind, C'mon.

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Now if Japan could do the same at Chinese and Korean national monuments to war dead it wouldn't have to constantly have to keep buying protection from the US. Nice gesture but as in all war, pure politics.

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Anyone else think that the guard's (winter?) uniforms makes them look like clowns?

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Voted worst military dress uniform. Easily.

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spudman at 11:08 AM JST - 8th January Now if Japan could do the same at Chinese and Korean national monuments >to war dead it wouldn't have to constantly have to keep buying >protection from the US. Nice gesture but as in all war, pure politics.

If Mao and the communists hadn't chased Chiang Kai Shek off the Chinese mainland it's possible that we would be seeing a Japanese minister visiting the Nanking Memorial. But it didn't work out that way. As for Korea, where exactly would this monument be?

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Some of the very odd comments here can be answered by either common sense or by online search. Some of you should try out a really neato website called GOOGLE!

Each guard is issued sunglasses fitted to his face. The sunglasses serve several purposes but primarily the glasses shield the guards’ eyes from the sun glare that reflects off of the nearly pure white highly polished marble that surrounds them. It also protects from camera flashbulbs (like the secret service) and from particles possibly being blown into their eyes during windy days.

Their coats and hats have changed from the initial design, but retain much of the original design due to tradition, They may not look so stylish but many military uniforms are not stylish. (clownish?? Someday you should personally tell a U.S. military member that their uniform is clownish and see what happens.) These winter hats are a design very similar to aviator hats which were common back in the 1930s and 40s, and the 24 hour guards started in 1937. The guards also have special shoes, gloves, etc,.for use only by the tomb guards.

@Jkanda “Someone please tell me, why are the two soldiers' figures dispropotionate.” The guards in this photo may look out of proportion because each must be between 5' 10" and 6' 2" tall and his waist size cannot exceed 30", most likely much taller than the typical Japanese politician or Minister.

@ shinjukuboy The wreath that the Japan Foreign Minister is presenting is not THE wreath at the tomb, but it is a wreath presented BY THE COUNTRY OF JAPAN on this occasion. If you have not noticed, the national flag of Japan is white with a big red circle in the middle, thus the design used for this particular wreath.

Many heads of state and other dignitaries from various countries visit Arlington Cemetary and this tomb at least once during their visits to Washington DC. The particular design of the wreath is up to each country which presents it but it must be within guidelines of the Cemetary, including the size and type of flowers, etc.

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OssanAmerica If Mao and the communists hadn't chased Chiang Kai Shek off the Chinese mainland it's possible that we would be seeing a Japanese minister visiting the Nanking Memorial.

because communists don't grieve? You have to deal with the people in power not the people you would like to deal with.

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I admire the dignity with which the foreign minister presented himself. Such a task was not accepted lightly, without forethought, nor the person to whom the undertaking fell.

You speak easily of burdens which you can not possibly comprehend. You lift insults like feathers.

There are those amongst us who strive, above all, to heal, with respect to those to whom we owe so much. Japanese, Anglo, it matters not, only those who after so long, and so much, recognize the sanctity of human life.

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It also protects from camera flashbulbs (like the secret service) and from particles possibly being blown into their eyes during windy days.

LOL.

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I like men in uniforms, but this pic makes me feel sorry for those two. And Maehara-san, were the stripes really necessary?

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Thanks islandview, but then again... it is kind of odd..The height, waist size ok, then do they also have some odd head size... The dark glasses I can agree, but why the aviator head gear? ready to take off or something...

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Well, now that DADT has been repealed, they can get some real designers on this.

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I agree that those uniforms have got to get a major update. Hire some Italians! Their uniforms rock...stylish, functional, made me want to join the Italian military. The photo makes the soldiers look like ant-heads. Good to see Maehara looking suave.

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Well put "islandview". If any of you have never been to Arlington and seen the changing of the guard, you should go. If someone thinks you can march post in freezing weather without head and ear protection, let them try it for a few hours, they will need their ears removed for frost bite. This duty, The Old Guard, is one of the most prestigious in the US military. These guys take their duty seriously. The Tombs of the Unknowns have never went without guards since the duty was established. They are there 24/7, not just when the tourist are around. These men have marched through snow, hail rain, and storm. A few years ago Washington was struck by a storm with hurricane force winds and rain. The Guard was offered the option of standing down, not maintaining their vigil, during the storm, to a man they choose to keep watch over the honored dead. The uniforms are historic. Much like the Beefeaters uniforms at Buckingham Palace or the Pope's Swiss Guards.

Some of you may want to consider Sir Walter Scotts's poem:

The Lay of the Last Minstrel (excerpt) Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)

Breathes there the man with soul so dead Who never to himself hath said, This is my own, my native land! Whose heart hath ne’er within him burned, As home his footsteps he hath turned From wandering on a foreign strand! If such there breathe, go, mark him well; For him no minstrel raptures swell; High though his titles, proud his name, Boundless his wealth as wish can claim Despite those titles, power, and pelf, The wretch, concentred all in self, Living, shall forfeit fair renown, And, doubly dying, shall go down To the vile dust from whence he sprung, Unwept, unhonored , and unsung.

The Old Guard will not let our Honored Dead go down unwept, unhonored and unsung. I doubt that they much care that after almost 75 years their uniforms look a little unfashionable.

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@islandview-Very good post!! I couldn't have said so better myself!!

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@Jkanda-It must have been agreed upon by the higher ups, that the aviator headgear was the warmest, for them to wear during the winter months. It can get very cold there during the wintertime. I also think there could've been better looking headgear for the winter, maybe along the lines of what was worn during the Korean War.

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@Hoplite-Your post is a great addition to islandview's post. The U.S. Army's dress uniform is along the color patterns of the uniform used by the U.S. Army during the mid to late 19th century ie; during the American Civil War, and also during the Indian wars that followed.

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The guards look like dorks, haha. They could beat me up though.

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