Tomb of the Unknown Soldier: First short film to document just the complete changing of the...

...honor guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery in all weather conditions and times of day, night, and year.  [The hope is that the cameras will catch the soldiers performing their ceremony during blizzards, hurricanes, thunderstorms, and, in the distance, lightning strikes.]  To win this challenge and to show respect, the film must be done by a director, cinematographer, and editor all of whom have won Academy Awards for their professions.  The ten-minute ceremony is to appear to be a seamless performance of the changing of the honor guard while obviously taking place at different times and during different weather conditions.

No sound, special, or visual effects or musical accompaniment can be used in the film.  All sights and sounds are as they were at the tomb.  The honor guard cannot perform specially for the camera crew.  The camera crew can only capture the honor guard while it does its normal duties.  Spectators must be allowed the ability to watch the honor guard do its duty.
[Fortunately, the changing of the guard ceremony never changes so it will be up to how it is filmed and edited to make it look seamless.  Thousands of hours of footage will very likely need to be taken to get the perfect seamless 10 minutes.]  To help make it look seamless, the US Army (it is their soldiers that comprise the honor guard) will have to have all the members of the honor guard be of the same exact height so swapping them out can be done without it appearing that their heights are jumping up and down.  What can and should change is the race and sex of the guards.  [Hopefully, the US Army will also finally develop a way for the guards to get through the chain fence without the pathetic need of a security guard opening and closing it for them.  Perhaps some kind of automated sensor that can detect when a guard and only a guard is approaching the fence and it triggers the mechanism to lower and raise the fence for them.  Or, possibly more impressive, the fence mechanism is set on a timer that allows the guard only three seconds at precise times to get through the gate.  Either way, this improvement will make it almost appear as if the cemetery itself is participating in the ceremony.]
The film can only be shown in movie theaters before all of their movies as a pre-feature special, no movie previews proceeding or following it, and only shown on Memorial Day.  To win this challenge, the film must air on Memorial Day in at least 4,000 US movie theaters. [Airing it for just one day will make this extra special and then doing it every year thereafter will make it into an annual tradition.  Many veterans and patriotic citizens will go to the movie theaters on Memorial Day just to see this short film.]  At the start of the film, it must tell theater-goers to rise and remain silent when the honor guard sergeant calls for it.

Future Challenges:

1) When the National Catacomb (see Future Challenge #9 for the challenge CLEANING UP: Cemeteries) comes into existence, the above film is redone.

Shown in a future version of the above film:

2) First honorably discharged US veteran who has received a Purple Heart and/or retired from the military after at least twenty years of service and is part of the Tomb of Unknown Soldier honor guard.  The veteran must be fit, healthy, sharp appearing, prove that they can do the job professionally, and a volunteer.

3) First full twenty-four-hour day that only US veterans make up the entire honor guard.  All veterans must possess a Purple Heart and/or have retired from the military after at least twenty years of service.  All must be fit, healthy, sharp appearing, prove that they can do the job professionally, and be volunteers.

4) First US House Representative or US Senator to successfully introduce a bill to Congress and get it signed by the President that authorizes the turning over of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier honor guard duties to either the American Legion and/or Veterans of Foreign Wars.  The bill stipulates that the AL/VFW honor guard can ONLY be made of US veterans possessing a Purple Heart and/or having retired from the military after at least twenty years of service.  No active-duty soldiers can be part of the honor guard.  The US veterans must be volunteers and meet physical and appearance requirements (no fat slobs) for doing the duty and then receive training to do it.  Any "in good standing" member of their organization can apply for honor guard duty and if a review board accepts their application, the member pays to take a training course.  Only after passing the training course with flying colors will they be allowed to join the rotation of the honor guard.  If the veteran is from faraway, accommodations for them must be made in the rotation of the honor guard so they can do it at least once a day for the length of their stay in Washington DC.

If you would like to discuss this challenge with others, click here to go to this challenge's discussion forum.

All Rights Reserved