The men and women of our armed services offer up their lives every day to keep this country and the people in it safe. For this, we owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude.

They don’t just show their strength on the front lines of battle, either. Countless soldiers put their hard training to work right here on our home shores.

The guards who stand watch over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier are a perfect example. They might not be fighting in the trenches, but that doesn’t mean what they do isn’t exceptionally dangerous, as one soldier found out firsthand…

The Changing of the Guard ceremony isn’t just a British tradition. Here in the United States, people travel from all over the country to visit Arlington National Cemetery to watch proud U.S. soldiers perform this important task.

Wknight94 / Wikimedia

The Changing of the Guard takes place at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which honors fallen American soldiers whose remains haven’t been identified. It is guarded by sentinels 365 days a year for 24 hours a day, regardless of the weather conditions. It’s a fitting tribute to those who offered up their lives in service of this great country.

Annie / Not Just A Broad

The sentinels chosen to guard the Tomb of the Unknowns (as it is often called) are selected only from the 3rd U.S. Infantry, or “The Old Guard.” Each sentinel takes a half-hour watch in front of the tomb. Before he is relieved of duty by another officer, a white-glove inspection of the duty rifle is performed.

Brian Tuchalski / Flickr

While precision, dedication, and unwavering resolve are key attributes in the soldiers who are selected to guard the tomb, that doesn’t mean that accidents don’t occasionally happen. After all, they might be expert soldiers, but these folks are still only human.

H Helman / YouTube

Recently, during a Changing of the Guard, the relieving officer dropped the duty rifle on another guard’s foot! Not only was this blunder rare and surprising, but it was dangerous; the rifle is equipped with a bayonet, and the blade went through the soldier’s foot.

H Helman / YouTube

Any other person on the planet would have been unable to help themselves from crying out in pain or at least grabbing their foot and hopping up and down, but not this sentinel. In a true display of fortitude, he just kept on walking.

H Helman / YouTube

The entire mishap was actually captured on film by a tourist who was visiting the cemetery to see the ceremony. They had no idea that they would witness something so painful. No one could believe this soldier’s strength and dedication to performing his duty to the best of his ability.

Only one-tenth of the men and women who apply for the position of Tomb Sentinel receive this honor. That’s because, in spite of how it appears, the job requires a level of dedication that even some of the toughest soldiers just don’t have. This soldier is proof of that!

H Helman / YouTube

The only sign that the soldier experienced any pain was the quick change in his expression when the bayonet blade pierced his foot. Other than that, you would never know anything went wrong! Could you imagine how he must have been feeling, though?

There’s no denying that, after seeing this video, you will have an entirely new appreciation for the men and women of our armed services. Protecting this tomb might seem like a simple task, but this soldier’s experience proves that it isn’t for the weak of heart!

Can you believe the expression on the soldier’s face? It’s beyond impressive that he was able to be so stoic, even when he was in such pain.

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