Veteran & Lyle principal reflects on memorable photo

Brett Bachtle
Updated: November 11, 2019 08:44 PM
Created: November 11, 2019 08:17 PM

(ABC 6 News) - Through the doors of the district office at Lyle Public School hangs a moment captured in time.

“This is February 27th, 1999. This was the day that I did my last walk at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier,” explained Lyle Public School MS/HS Principal, Jamie Goebel.


The photo highlights a young Principal Goebel, 21 years old, on his last day as a sentinel at Arlington National Cemetery.

“This picture here is an important day in my life because it was the final time I was guarding the unknowns. I went up at 11 o’clock and at 12 o’clock I performed my last guard change and gave up my weapon outside, and then I went and laid roses at every crept,” said Goebel.

Before his last and first day as a guard, a previous visit inspired his mission.

“I was like, this something I want to do. This is something that I know I can do. I remember calling my mom and saying, ‘I want to be a tomb guard,’” Goebel said.

However, not just anyone can simply become a guard. It requires nothing less than perfection and eight and a half months of rigorous training for Goebel.

“Learning how to fix my uniform to perfection within 1/64th of an inch with the metals being off, to shining my shoes for hours on end so they look like a mirror,” said Goebel.

To date, only around 700 people have earned the tomb guard identification badge.

“I walked in a young farm kid from Minnesota and I walked out a man because what you go through and the time you put into it, everything you learn, everything you do you try to be perfect at it,” Goebel said.

Now, the photo proudly displayed in Principal Goebel’s office is used as a learning tool for his students.

“When I have kids come in here and talk with me, they see it and they’ll ask questions; ‘Is that you?’, and I’m like, ‘Yep.’ It spurs a curiosity in them to know about that and so it’s a connection piece for me to talk and a full purpose for me to educate them,” said Goebel.

On Veterans Day, Goebel said, “Taking a moment to say thank you to a veteran, it’s very much appreciated.”

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