Parent shares story of guarding Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier

At the Veterans Day program at Villa Madonna School in Tampa, one parent had a story to tell that began a hundred years ago. 

Shortly after World War One, the United States and its allies decided that unknown soldiers who lost their lives should be remembered. 

In those days, many who were killed could not be identified. 

Benjamin Bell, the parent of two Villa Madonna students, spent several years guarding the Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, a member of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as the Old Guard. 

He volunteered for duty and was selected from among many applicants. "We have a saying, soldiers never die until they're forgotten. Tomb Guards never forget," said Bell. 

His service went on even after leaving the army. Bell is a nurse at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa. He and other former Tomb Guards speak to groups such as the children at Villa Madonna. "I want them to come away with a deeper understanding of what it means to guard the tomb and what it means to have made that sacrifice to our country," Bell said. 

Tomb Guards practice for hours before appearing in front of the public. They take pride in the precision that thousands of visitors to see. Ironically, Bell says the guards want to be so perfectly precise that visitors look past them to concentrate on the Tomb.