“Soldiers never die until they are forgotten, Tomb guards never forget.”
We honor the memory of a remarkable individual who touched the lives of many—both in the sacred grounds of Arlington National Cemetery and on the sacred grounds of South Alabama. Mike Vinson was a true patriot, a beloved family member, and a cherished friend.
Mike exemplified the essence of honor, duty, and service. Forty-five years ago, he took on the profound responsibility of being a guard at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D.C.—a role that demands the utmost reverence and respect. In this role, he stood as a silent sentinel, honoring the unknown fallen heroes from each of our wars, who rest in the tomb in eternal peace. Mike’s commitment, and those like him, stood to uphold the dignity of these Soldiers and maintain the highest standards of vigilance that will be forever etched in the history of this sacred place.
In 1982 Mike was stationed in the pentagon, where he served as a guard for the Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger. Mike then went on to serve President Ronald Reagan starting at his first inauguration. Mike never spoke of any of this. He would rarely answer questions. His family found invitations to State dinners for foreign heads of state, so they confirm he did serve in the White House as well as the Capital.
Mike didn’t stop there. He continued to serve, dedicating his life to the noble cause of defending our nation as an Army soldier. Then the rest of his life to his unwavering love for his wife Pam, his loving guidance for his stepson, Jack Holloway, his fierce love and devotion to his granddaughter, Nori. And his devotion to his career with Baldwin County Sewer Service. Through trials and triumphs, he displayed unwavering courage and unwavering dedication to his duties. Above all, Mike was a cherished family member. His love, warmth, and kindness touched the hearts of those fortunate enough to know him. Though he was known as stoic, his presence would light up every room, and he brought joy to all who had the privilege of calling him family or friend.
As we bid farewell to Mike, let’s carry the lessons he taught us—lessons of honor, integrity, and selflessness. Let his legacy inspire us to be better versions of ourselves and to embrace the values that he embodied.
Though Mike may no longer be with us in the physical realm, his spirit lives on in the memories and hearts of those he touched. We honor a dedicated soldier, a devout husband, father and grandfather, and a devoted friend, but more importantly, we celebrate a life lived with purpose and a heart filled with love.
May you find eternal peace in the embrace of the heroes you once guarded, and your family gone before you.
Rest In Peace, Mike. You will forever be an inspiration to us all.