In Arlington Cemetery, Arlington Virginia, at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, one can witness the breathtakingly solemn ceremony of the changing of the guard.
It’s one of the most remarkable things I’ve ever seen. Since it was built, the tomb has been guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The soldiers that guard it have been chosen with excruciating care. They are the best of the Elite 3rd U.S. Infantry.
They have been tested and tried; they are the most seasoned sentinels. They have unwavering discipline, and have volunteered themselves for tireless service. During their guard, there is no relief. They weather any storm, regardless of how severe. Until they are relived, their vigilance is perfect.
Before the time comes for the changing of the guard, his replacement will walk with him for a time in absolute harmony. They walk in perfect Step, one with another, completely united. And then, when the time comes for the first to retire, the next is there, completely ready. The handoff ceremony is precise and pure, having been executed many times before. And so, the precious post passes from one to the next, in an unbroken chain of protection.
Such is the changing of the guard.
On Sunday, January 27, 2008, our beloved prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley passed away. The following Saturday, February 2, 2008, I was privileged to be at the Tabernacle, and witness the changing of the guard.
No, it wasn’t any official ceremony appointing our new prophet, but it was my opportunity to see the mantle of the Lord settling onto our new Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, as he bid farewell to his mighty predecessor with the tender words reflecting their friendship… “Gordon, God be with you till we meet again.”
And so, the changing of the guard is complete, leaving the saints with an unbroken chain of prophetic protection. Chosen with excruciating care, from our most seasoned sentinels, the best of the elite, our new guard is uniquely positioned to stand in the storms that lie ahead, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
President Thomas S. Monson, our new prophet. May the Lord bless you in your service, and may our prayers sustain you through your post.