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Published on: Sunday, June 16, 2024 read more ...

Flags In

The United States flag is one of the most significant symbols of Memorial Day, representing freedom, sacrifice and remembrance. Just before Memorial Day weekend, the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (also known as The Old Guard) honors America's fallen heroes by placing American flags at gravesites for service members buried at Arlington National Cemetery and the U.S. Soldiers' and Airmen's Home National Cemetery.

This tradition, known as "Flags In," has taken place annually since the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment was designated as the Army's official ceremonial unit in 1948. Every available soldier in the Old Guard participates, along with members of other service branches. They place small American flags in front of more than 260,000 headstones and at the bottom of about columbarium 7,000 niche rows. Each flag is inserted into the ground, exactly one boot length from the headstone's base.

At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Sentinels (who are members of the Old Guard) place flags to honor the Unknowns. Army chaplains place flags in front of the headstones and four memorials located on Chaplains' Hill in Section 2.

All flags are removed after Memorial Day, before the cemetery opens to the public. 

•  Read about what Flags In means for service member and veteran participants at Arlington National Cemetery and Soldiers' and Airmen's Home National Cemetery 

•  View photos from this year