Veterans

May 28, 2014

Old Guard Soldiers honor fallen with flags at Arlington graves

Soldiers from the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) place flags in front of the gravesites in Arlington National Cemetery, Va., May 22, 2014, during “Flags In.”

 
Across Arlington National Cemetery last weekend, adjacent to each of the often stark white, simple grave stones, a tiny American flag has been placed into the ground as a tribute to the service and sacrifice of the nation’s fallen service members who rest there.

In advance of Memorial Day, soldiers from the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) carefully placed the flags by hand, one by one, in front of each of the gravestones at the cemetery. This year more than 400,000 flags were placed in the ground.

“Every soldier will bring his or her ruck sack with them, and the ruck sack will be filled with small American flags that will be filled from prepositioned trucks throughout the cemetery,” said SFC Ryan Joseph, a drill master with the U.S. Army Drill Team.

“Once your ruck sack is filled, leaders will take their soldiers throughout the cemetery and begin placing flags at every grave,” he continued. “Then leaders will patrol through and spot check to ensure all the flags are dress-right-dress and everything is according to standard.”

Soldiers place flags in the ground as part of an event called “Flags In.” It’s a tradition that has happened for more than 40 years now. Joseph said this year is his third time participating in the event – and it may be his last.

“This being my third and possible final Flags In here at the Old Guard, it’s a very difficult time for me,” Joseph said. “Every time I come into the cemetery and see it, I have a different renewed sense of honor and duty, every day when I put on the uniform and I come to work, it’s easy to forget what you are serving for and those who made the sacrifices before you.”

old-guard3

But for soldiers who forget why they serve, and what their uniform means, a visit to Arlington National Cemetery can help them remember – and not just during Memorial Day, after the flags have been placed at gravesites.

“Every time you cross that gate and come in here, it reminds you,” Joseph said. “It is a very moving feeling to know that over half a million Americans that are laid here to rest have given their lives in service to this country. It’s very humbling. And I will remember this time for the rest of my life.”

Joseph said that soldiers do a row of gravestones by putting their toe against the center of the stone, and then placing the flag at their heel. In that way, every row has the flags placed equidistant from the stone, giving a uniform appearance.

He said as soldiers head out for a three-day weekend, for barbecues and time with their families, they should “remember the sacrifices of the men and women of this great country … just keep that in mind.”
 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Air Force photograph by TSgt. Anthony Nelson

Doolittle Tokyo Raiders receive Congressional Gold Medal

Air Force photograph by TSgt. Anthony Nelson Retired Lt. Gen. John “Jack” Hudson, the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force director, accepts the Congressional Gold Medal on behalf of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders April 15, 2...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Alex Montes

WWII veteran reunites with former aircraft

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Alex Montes Retired Lt. Col. Alston Daniels beams as he sits in the cockpit of a Douglas C-47D Skytrain for the first time since 1962 April 7, 2015, at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash. Daniels flew ...
 
 
Navy photograph by PO1 Katherine Hofman

DOD to disinter USS Oklahoma unaccounted for service members

Navy photograph by PO1 Katherine Hofman PO2 Rick Baty, assigned to the U.S. Pacific Fleet Band, plays Taps honoring fallen sailors of the USS Oklahoma during the National Park Service annual USS Oklahoma Memorial ceremony. This...
 

 

VA extends program for veterans with traumatic brain injury

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced April 13 the award of 20 contracts for the Assisted Living Pilot Program for Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury. Originally slated to end in 2014, the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 extended this program through October 2017. We are pleased to extend this valuable program and...
 
 
Air Force photograph

Doolittle Tokyo Raiders to receive Congressional Gold Medal

Air Force photograph The USS Hornet had 16 U.S. Army Air Forces North American B-25B Mitchells on deck, ready for the Tokyo Raid on April 18, 1942. Seventy-three years ago, 80 men achieved the unimaginable when they took off fr...
 
 
Army photograph by Patrick Bloodgood

Over 27,000 burial sites to open at Arlington next year

Army photograph by Patrick Bloodgood Construction crews move dirt and prepare the ground at the Arlington National Cemetery Millennium Expansion Project, Feb. 19, 2014. The project also involves restoring an impaired stream tha...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>