Friday, May 22, 2009

Arlington, Yesterday

Each marker in section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, which holds veterans from Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, has a flag placed in front of it during the "Flags In" Memorial Day tradition, May 21.
(US Army photo - as captioned on - click for larger)
Every Memorial Day since 1948, Soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) have made their way through Fort Myer's Selfridge Gate, rucksacks filled with American flags.

This year was no exception as every available Soldier from The Old Guard, as well as from ceremonial units across each branch of the military, gathered at Arlington National Cemetery May 21, to place a flag in front of each one of the cemetery's more than 300,000 graves.

"Flags In," as it's known, kicks off the Memorial Day weekend for service members and visitors to ANC, beginning several days of reflecting on the sacrifices of the men and women who have laid down their lives for our country.


The Marine Corps Barracks 8th and I, the Navy Ceremonial Guard, the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard and members of the Coast Guard Honor Guard all participated as well, in a joint service tribute to heroes of generations past and present.
Full story here.


  1. I remember the thrill I got, as a kid, when our street sign would have a little flag placed on it near to Memorial Day. I lived on Caddy Road in Boston, named for William Caddy, a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient from WWII.

    Anyway, all Boston streets named after servicemen received such flags, as did the various squares, bridges, and other memorials. I'll have to take a ride into the old neighborhood and see if that still happens. I surely hope so.

  2. I was in Layton, Utah (a suburb of SLC) on Memorial Day a couple of years ago and was both surprised and VERY pleased to see the local Boy Scout troop turn out and place flags in front of all the homes in the sub-division where SN1 was living at the time. There was once a time when seemingly EVERYONE flew the flag on Memorial Day; these days it's almost the exception rather than the rule.

    I hope the tradition as you've described it still exists in Boston, Jim. That would be a great good thing.

  3. I wouldn't mind helping to place those flags. It would be a fun Spring task.

  4. Can I just tell you what a thrill it is to see the Old Guard silent drill team perform en masse?

    It sends a shiver down the spine.

    I think I'll go post a pic of our flag.

  5. Flags In is a very important event - and it is repeated at most of the National Cemeteries in America - though they use volunteers.

  6. Darryl: Didja see Cynthia's comment about the other national cemeteries, below? You might could have an opportunity here, next year.

    Moogie: I've never seen The Old Guard's silent drill team, but I've seen others sorta like them. The higher you go up the organizational echelons in each service, the more intense the competition gets for a place on the team, with predictable results for quality of performance. The Marines and Navy have impressive drill teams at that level, the Air Force much less so.

    Cynthia: I agree about the importance of the event, and I'm glad the volunteers exist in the other National Cemeteries.

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