‘Flags In’ Ceremony Marks Beginning of Memorial Day Activities at Arlington National Cemetery
Today at 3:30 pm, under clear skies, some 1500 soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment walked through the upper gates of Arlington Cemetery carrying rusacks full of American flags. Their mission? To place a flag on each and every grave site, leaving no soldier forgotten.
Known as ‘Flags In’, this decades old ceremony marks the beginning of Memorial Day activities at
Arlington National Cemetery.
The 3rd Infantry Regiment, fondly know as the “Old Guard”, was designated as the Army’s official ceremonial unit in 1948. That same year, non-commissioned officers began the practice of placing flags at each grave site on Memorial Day. Old Guard members also guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, escort deceased service members to their final resting place at Arlington and serve in regular billets around the world.
Still lead and coordinated by 3rd Regiment NCO’s, the soldiers were joined today by representatives from the Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and Marine honor guard units.
Command Sergeant Major David Martel noted that it would take his soldiers about 3 hours to place over 250,000 flags. With due reverence, each flag is centered approximately 12 inches in front of the grave. Because soldiers use their individual foot gear as a measure, a single service member begins and completes one row in a section to insure uniformity. The flags will stay in place through Monday, May 25th but will be removed before the cemetery opens on Tuesday, May 26th.
SPC Sara Walton
[SPC Walton moved just two weeks ago from Ft. Campbell, KY to Ft. Meyer to be part of the 289th Military Police Company. Originally from San Antonio, TX, Walton served in the Air Force before joining the Army. ]
I am proud to have served as a member of the Old Guard and proud that my father’s grave bears one of those flags. Ten-hut!