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.