SCOTTSDALE, AZ — The Swerlyk family may have a new tradition. Thirty years ago, Robyn Swerlyk placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington, Virginia as part of a class trip. This summer, her children followed in her footsteps.
Michael, 13, and his brother Logan, 9, placed a wreath at the tomb during a changing of the guard ceremony.
"A soldier came walking up, and my brother and I were pretty overwhelmed and a little frightened," Michael said.
"Once he was walking up to us, I was really nervous because I was like, 'Is he mean or is he nice?'" Logan said. "But it turns out he was super nice."
The soldier went over the plan with the boys so they knew what they needed to do.
"We walked down the stairs and said the Pledge of Allegiance. Then we put the wreath on with our school banners on there," Michael said.
"The ceremony was exactly as I remembered it. They way we walked down the stairs, they did the same," Robyn said.
She hopes her children took away some of the same lessons she did.
"My husband and I are just trying to raise gentlemen who respect our country and have respect for the military and their sacrifice every day," she said.
"It was such an honor to lay a wreath down on someone's tombstone who fought in the war for us," Logan said.
"I'm probably going to have my kids do it too if we can, and I hope I never forget it," Michael said.
To get her sons involved, Robyn said she applied to participate in one of Arlington National Cemetery's public ceremonies. For more on how to do that, click here.