Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

On the sidelines of White House ceremonies and at night at Arlington National Cemetery, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) interviewed members of the Army's Old Guard for a book, "Sacred Duty," that he has coming out May 14.

The senator told me he got the idea for the book because when he's campaigning in Arkansas, or when constituents visit him in D.C., the most common military question he gets isn't about iconic Army institutions like Ranger School or Airborne School. It's about Arlington and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, guarded around the clock by the Old Guard.

  • Cotton was a platoon leader of the Old Guard — the Army's official ceremonial unit, and America's oldest infantry unit, dating to 1784 — in 2007 and 2008, between his Iraq and Afghanistan deployments.

So Cotton, working at night when his two sons were in bed, told the story of the Old Guard through the eyes of soldiers like the ones he led.

  • The book includes Cotton's eyewitness accounts of the White House arrival ceremony for French President Emmanuel Macron, and the retirement ceremony for Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, formerly President Trump's national security adviser.

In addition to the dignified transfer of remains at Dover Air Force Base, the heart of Cotton's work at the Old Guard was leading funerals at Arlington — getting his soldiers out before sunrise, often in the heat or cold.

  • "These funerals happen every single day, whether it's 105 degrees, or 15 degrees," Cotton told me.
  • "There is no routine or simple funeral. Every one was a lifetime in the making."
  • "I always told the soldiers: This is the only Arlington funeral that family will ever see."
Courtesy Sen. Tom Cotton

Go deeper: Trump honors service members and families at Arlington cemetery

Subscribe to Axios AM/PM for a daily rundown of what's new and why it matters, directly from Mike Allen.
Please enter a valid email.
Please enter a valid email.
Server error. Please try a different email.
Subscribed! Look for Axios AM and PM in your inbox tomorrow or read the latest Axios AM now.

Go deeper

In photos: D.C. and U.S. states on alert for pre-inauguration violence

National Guard troops stand behind security fencing with the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building behind them, on Jan. 16. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Security has been stepped up in Washington, D.C., and state capitols across the U.S. as authorities brace for potential violence this weekend.

Driving the news: Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by some supporters of President Trump, the FBI has said there could be armed protests in D.C. and in all 50 state capitols in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

15 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The new Washington

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Axios subject-matter experts brief you on the incoming administration's plans and team.

Rep. Lou Correa tests positive for COVID-19

Lou Correa. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) announced on Saturday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Correa is the latest Democratic lawmaker to share his positive test results after last week's deadly Capitol riot. Correa did not shelter in the designated safe zone with his congressional colleagues during the siege, per a spokesperson, instead staying outside to help Capitol Police.