Flags in Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery: My Best Memorial Weekend Ever

Memorial Day weekend in 1997 was my best Memorial Day weekend ever.  At the time, I was a Soldier in the 3rd U.S. Infantry, The Old Guard.  I was tasked to participate in the “Flags In” Ceremony in Arlington National Cemetery.  Prior to Memorial Day we put flags next to every veteran’s gravestone in Arlington National Cemetery.  And after Memorial Day we removed the flags.

At the time, I really didn’t totally grasp the significance of the act (I was 19 years old), but looking back, I now understand how important it was. It’s so important to honor veterans, both living and deceased.

Here are a few things you should know about the “Flags In” ceremony.

  • The Old Guard has been doing this more than 40 years
  • Every gravestone in Arlington National Cemetery (more than 260k) and U.S. Soldier’s and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery (13k) get a flag
  • All available Soldiers in The Old Guard participate in the event
  • All flags are removed after Memorial Day before the public is allowed to visit the cemetery

I even found a video online that shows what we did. This video was made many years later from when I participated in the “Flags In” ceremony, but the concept is the same.

To learn more about the Flags In Ceremony, check out the link below.


If you’ve ever participated in the “Flags in” ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, I would love to hear from you.  Please leave a comment to tell us about your experience.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)
Publisher, Part-Time-Commander.com
Email: mrchuckholmes@gmail.com

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6 thoughts on “Flags in Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery: My Best Memorial Weekend Ever”

  1. Candace Ginestar

    Arlington is such an emotional place to begin with, I can’t imagine what I would feel if I was there over memorial weekend. This sounds like an awesome opportunity, Chuck. I hope some day that I can participate in this, and would be happy to volunteer my time.

  2. One of the items on my bucket list is to visit Arlington National Cemetery, and the Flags-In Ceremony for Memorial Day would be the perfect time. What a fitting way to honor our fallen! Every soldier in the 3rd Infantry is expected to participate, and I know I would consider it an honor. It sounds like you definitely appreciated your time there, Chuck. I also found it fascinating that Old Guard soldiers actually remain in the cemetery the entire weekend to ensure that the flags stay on each grave site.

  3. Living so close to DC I will be taking part in this, Chuck. Thanks for the great info and history on the event. It will make it all the more enjoyable!

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