For more than 60 years, the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) has honored America's fallen heroes by placing American flags at gravesites for service members buried at both Arlington National Cemetery and the U.S. Soldiers' and Airmen's Home National Cemetery just prior to the Memorial Day weekend.
This tradition, known as 'Flags in,' has been conducted annually since The Old Guard was designated as the Army's official ceremonial unit in 1948. Every available soldier in the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment participates, placing small American flags at each headstone and at the bottom of each niche row.
Within four hours, the soldiers place flags in front of more than 228,000 headstones and at the bottom of about 7,000 niche rows in the cemetery's Columbarium Courts and the Niche Wall.
Army Chaplains place flags in front of the four memorials and the headstones located on Chaplain's Hill in Section 2.
Tomb Sentinels also place flags at the gravesites of the unknown interred at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Approximately 14,000 flags are placed at the Soldiers' and Airmen's Home National Cemetery.
All flags are removed after Memorial Day, before each cemetery opens to the public.