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

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Trump casts himself as chief defender of American history in divisive speech at Rushmore

President Trump spoke out against a "merciless campaign" to wipe out American history during a Fourth of July celebration at Mount Rushmore.

Why it matters: Trump's "dark and divisive" speech comes as states continue to hit new coronavirus records and a national reckoning against racial inequities pushes forward, The New York Times writes. Trump's public approval is faltering heading toward the November elections, and he made an appeal to his base at Friday's spectacle, per The Washington Post.

Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Drive-in movie theaters, the symbol of a bygone era before cellphones and constant distraction, are suddenly reemerging as a popular form of entertainment during the coronavirus crisis.

Why it matters: Indoor movie theaters are closed, but people still crave entertainment and a chance to get out of their houses. Watching a movie from the safety of a car is the next best thing.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 a.m. ET: 11,093,182 — Total deaths: 525,491 — Total recoveries — 5,890,052Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 a.m. ET: 2,795,163 — Total deaths: 129,437 — Total recoveries: 790,404 — Total tested: 34,213,497Map.
  3. States: ICU beds in Arizona's hot spot reach near capacity.
  4. Public health: The states where face coverings are mandatory Fauci says it has been a "very disturbing week" for the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S.
  5. Economy: The economy may recover just quickly enough to kill political interest in more stimulus.