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 SrA. Jensen Stidham

World War II pilot reunited with P-47

Air Force photograph by SrA. Jensen Stidham Retired Air National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 2 Robert Hertel, laughs while under the wing of a P-47 Thunderbolt during the Heritage Flight Training and Certification Course Feb. 2...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash

Vietnam War veterans honored during ceremony at AF Memorial

Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III delivers his remarks during a wreath laying ceremony March 2, 2015, honoring Air Force Vietnam prisoners of war and missing in action at the A...
 
 
Air Force photograph

AF holds 50th anniversary Vietnam War commemoration ceremony

Air Force photograph F-105 crews played a key role in Operation Rolling Thunder. During this three-year Vietnam War campaign, Air Force, Marine and Navy aircraft bombed targets throughout North Vietnam. U.S. and Australian wars...
 

 

Airmen missing from WWII accounted for

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced Feb. 23, that the remains of U.S. servicemen, missing in action from World War II, have been accounted for and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors. Army Air Forces 1st Lts. William D. Bernier of Augusta, Mont.; Bryant E. Poulsen of Salt Lake...
 
 

President signs Clay Hunt Act, says ‘Stigma has to end’

President Barack Obama Feb. 12 signed into law the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, or SAV Act. The act is aimed at reducing military and veteran suicides and improving their access to quality mental health care. Hunt was a decorated Marine veteran who struggled with post-traumatic stress. He deployed to Iraq and...
 
 

Survivor of USS Arizona from Pearl Harbor attack dies at 100

YUBA CITY, Calif. – The oldest living crew member of the battleship USS Arizona to have survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor has died in Northern California at the age of 100. Retired Navy Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Langdell died Feb. 4 at a nursing home in Yuba City, according to his son, Ted Langdell....
 




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>