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Posted at 10:37 AM ET, 11/18/2010

A Tomb Guard is laid to rest

By T. Rees Shapiro

I had the honor yesterday of attending the burial of Army Staff Sergeant Adam L. Dickmyer, who was killed in Afghanistan on Oct. 28 by a makeshift bomb.

It was the first funeral I have ever witnessed and I feel fortunate that my introduction to these traditionally somber ceremonies took place at Arlington National Cemetery on an ideal Autumn day.

Sgt. Dickmyer was the first guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns to be killed in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan.

The sentinels are known for their silent march on the plaza in front the of the Tomb. Whether it is 98 degrees or below zero you won't be able to tell by the soldiers' steely expressions; the sentinels are renowned for their resolute composure.

At Sgt. Dickmyer's funeral, however, I saw more than a few of the Tomb guards with tears justifiably streaming down their faces.

"We take it one step further because we are so visible," Sgt. Dickmyer said in Robert M. Poole's 2009 book "On Hallowed Ground: The story of Arlington National Cemetery." "Thousands of people see us every day - more come here than go to the Jefferson Memorial - so we want to make the best possible impression. And we want the guys who sacrificed everything to know that they are still remembered, that someone still cares. That's why we do it."

Click here to see a video of Sgt. Dickmyer at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

If you have any thoughts or memories of Sgt. Dickmyer please leave them below.

By T. Rees Shapiro  | November 18, 2010; 10:37 AM ET
Categories:  T. Rees Shapiro  
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Comments

What a terrific video, and how poignant.

This brings things home.

RIP Sgt. Dickmyer, condolences to his loved ones, and thanks for posting this.

Posted by: Georgetwoner | November 18, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

You will never know what a truly special person Adam was. He was dedicated to his wife, his Soldiers, his country, the Unknowns, and God. He had a natural smile and a memorable laugh. He loved chocolate cookies. He really did have a heart of gold.

The hundreds of people who attended his funeral are a testament to who Adam was. The dozens of Sentinels who are no longer at the Tomb, many who came from another part of othe world, are hurting in a way few could ever understand. We have lost one of our own.

Line Six, #528. RIP SSG Dickmyer.

Posted by: TommyMcGuire | November 19, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

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