A 100-year-old veteran whose name had been left off a plaque naming every sentinel at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was finally honored on Wednesday.
Army veteran Jack Eaton received a hero's welcome to Washington, D.C., and was thanked for his service during World War II. Eaton, of Burton, Michigan, is the oldest living sentinel in the country.
Being a sentinel at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery is one of the highest and most sacred honors. It's a task given to a select few, where perfection is required.
Eaton guarded the tomb from 1938 through 1940. But on two prior trips to D.C., he saw in the back barracks of the guards of the tomb that his name was missing from a wall of plaques.
He flew into Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on Wednesday morning and was greeted with a water canon salute and American flags on the tarmac. At the gate, a band played and American Airlines employees waved more flags.
At 100y/o Jack Eaton is the oldest living Sentinel to have stood watch at the tomb of the unknowns. But for the first time, his name will appear on the wall with others who have served. It’s taken awhile, but his goal is finally accomplished. His story @nbcwashington @5&6 pic.twitter.com/vhRwNgKKQV— Meagan Fitzgerald (@MeaganNBCDC) October 23, 2019
A truly historic morning @Reagan_Airport as America’s oldest Sentinel, at age 100, arrives from Michigan to see a wish come true. He certainly knows how to make an entrance - check out those moves! �� pic.twitter.com/lj4E3IsyZN— Justin F. Franco (@justinffranco1) October 23, 2019
Eaton danced a few steps as he saw the fanfare in the terminal.
"I can’t ask for any more than what I’m already getting," he said.
Later in the day, he and another sentinel, Capt. Harold Earls, screwed into a plaque a plate with Eaton's name and dates of service.
"I’m just glad to finally see my name up here permanently," Eaton said.
For decades to come, he will be remembered as one of the select few who served to make sure heroes who are unknown are never forgotten.