Sacred Duty: A Soldier's Tour at Arlington National Cemetery

Sacred Duty: A Soldier's Tour at Arlington National Cemetery

by Tom Cotton


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From U.S. Senator Tom Cotton, an intimate and inspiring portrait of Arlington National Cemetery's Old Guard, the official ceremonial unit of the U.S. Army and Americas oldest infantry unit, dating to 1784: part history of the Old Guard, part memoir of Senator Cotton’s time as a platoon leader in the unit, part meditation on service, tradition, and patriotism.

It is the most sacred square mile in America. A city of the dead—more than 400,000 inhabitants and growing with each passing week. On 624 sloping acres, across a river from the nation’s capital, lie generations of heroes in a place called Arlington. The hallowed grounds contain presidents and privates, some of the most famous names in military and political history—Supreme Court justices, five-star generals, and war heroes—as well as liberated slaves, and the bodies of soldiers known only to God.

For sixteen months, in between combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, Tom Cotton, United States Senator from Arkansas, served as a platoon leader for the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment at Arlington. Known as “The Old Guard,” these soldiers perform military-honor funerals for our fallen and welcome presidents and kings to our nation’s capital, putting in countless hours behind the scenes in their quest for perfection to honor. Membership in The Old Guard is a high honor for a U.S. soldier, and its soldiers serve to remind Americans that tradition, integrity, and patriotism still matter.

Sacred Duty is both a history of the 3rd Infantry Regiment—the oldest active-duty regiment in the Army—and a personal reflection on honor, ritual, and service, from one of our most respected public figures. It is also a meditation on the value of service to one’s country—and on those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

Includes approximately 25 photos.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062863157
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/14/2019
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 654
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Tom Cotton is a United States Senator from Arkansas. He served in Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division and in Afghanistan with a Provincial Reconstruction Team. Between combat tours, he served with the United States Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment (“The Old Guard”) at Arlington National Cemetery. His military decorations include the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantryman Badge, and the Ranger Tab. He served one term in the House of Representatives before election to the Senate. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Tom is married to Anna and they have two sons, Gabriel and Daniel.

Table of Contents

Map: Arlington National Cemetery viii

Prologue: America's Regiment 1

Chapter 1 Coming Home 11

Chapter 2 America's First Defenders 47

Chapter 3 "Honor, Values, and Tradition" 106

Chapter 4 Inside Arlington with The Old Guard 139

Chapter 5 Standing on Ceremony 173

Chapter 6 The Unknowns 212

Epilogue: "The Old Guard Never Stops" 275

Notes on Sources 287

Acknowledgments 299

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Sacred Duty: A Soldier's Tour at Arlington National Cemetery 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous 20 days ago
I am not much for history or biography books but this is a book everyone who lives in the US should read. The honor and dedication that the Military gives to our fallen is tremendous and makes me proud to be an American. The book is weaves stories into the tradition and history in a way that makes the reader feel, understand and appreciate the service of our military families. Be ready for tears because they come easily!
caochedSC 25 days ago
Senator Cotton's book is very well written. It is most touching with the insights he gives about U.S. History, the military in general, the ARMY, and very specifically Arlington National Cemetery. If you have ever been at Arlington during the changing of the guard, you will want to read this book. If you are an American history buff, you'll want to read this book. I could hardly put it down until I finished it. It is that good.