Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Old Guard Tour

Mark's boss organized a tour, for anyone his office, of the Old Guard and to see the behind the scenes of the changeing of the guard at Arlington Cemetary. I really didn't know what to expect, but it turned out to be a great experience. I wish our guests over the weekend could have been here to go on the tour with us.
First they took us to see the Old Guard Caisson Platoon's horses. These hourses are the horses that pull the caskets for fallen soldiers to be buried in Arlington Cemetary, presidents that have passed away, and lead inaugural parades. They are a lot bigger than I thought. One horse's back was at 6 feet in height. So, with his head raised, he must have been 9-10 tall! Holy Huge! They said that the larger horses are hitched towards the back, closer to the caisson carrying the casket, to be the muscle of the team.
Evan was so excited to see the horses! Even thought they were huge, Evan had no fear of getting close to them. At one point he started to walk into an area where horses were free to graze and walk around. Good thing Mark was keeping an eye on him.
Here are some pics of Evan and Sgt. York, one of the lead horses that carries the "riderless horse" position in parades and funerals. He usually is saddled with boots that are placed backwards in the stirrups representing the fallen soldiers. (there's a great picture of Sgt. York with the backward boots in stirrups if you follow the link above)
I usually don't think horses are beautiful, cause I'm usually too overwhelmed by the smell. But Sgt. York was one beautiful horse. We found out that the old guard platoon that care for the horses get up at 4am to bath and groom all the horses every morning. These are some pampered horses. And Sgt. York had the softest and shiniest coat for a horse that I've ever felt!
I happened to give a frosted miniwheat to Evan to eat right before we went to see the horses. He wouldn't put it in his mouth and eat it so all the horses we saw would go right up to him and smell him and probably try to eat the frosted miniwheat in his hand. Evan laughed so hard when a horse would get right up to him and sniff him like a giant dog. He's hair would be blowing and Evan would put his arms over his head and laugh! I wished we took a video of it. Well, these pics sort of depict what happened.
We also got to go behind the scenes at Arlington Cemetary to see what goes on during the changeing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. And acutally get to talk to one of the guards, or Sentinals. The lead sentinal said that they do the change every half hour and he does 19-23 of them a day! And each process of walking out there, inspecting guns and saluting and all the gun flipping and stuff takes about 5 mins too. And that the tomb is guarded 24/7 in no matter what weather. That's amazing dedication. more...
It was a mad rush for Evan and I to get out the door and drive in to DC this morning. Last night, Evan kept waking up every hour to 2 hours cause of a fever, and we slept in till 11:30 and had to be in DC by 1. I bearly had time to grab breakfast/lunch for us to eat on the road and I forgot to bring diapers for Evan. I'm glad his diaper held out for the 5 hours until we got back home. Overall, it was a great tour, and I'm glad we took the time out to see it.
Evan with a frosted miniwheat in hand trying to keep Sgt. York from getting it.

Evan is still hanging on to that miniwheat!

I'm sure Sgt. York smells all the frosted miniwheats that Evan had eaten before that are now all over his shirt! All the other people on the tour thought the horses loved little kids, but really the horses loved what was on this little kid.

Changeing of the guard at Arlington Cemetary

Monday, March 12, 2007

Happy Birthday!

Love, Beverly, Mark & Evan