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.


 
 

 

Remains of Pearl Harbor victims raised for identification

The military July 27 exhumed more caskets containing the unidentified remains of USS Oklahoma crew members killed in the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency disinterred five coffins from four grave sites at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, where they have rested for decades. The work is...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Whitney Stanfield

POW visits Pentagon tribute section, reminisces about hard times

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Whitney Stanfield Retired Col. Leon Ellis visits the Air Force prisoner of war tribute section in the Pentagon July 16, 2015. Ellis, a Vietnam War POW, admired a painting by Maxine McCaffrey. The p...
 
 
Air Force photo by Gina Randall

Optimism helped Vietnam vet survive as POW

Air Force photo by Gina Randall Retired Maj. Spike Nasmyth, speaks with airmen during a lunch July 8, 2015, at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England. Nasmyth spoke about how prisoners of war communicated with one another in the c...
 

 
Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash

WWII Veteran, POW receives Presidential Unit Citation

Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash Sen. John McCain and Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Larry O. Spencer congratulate 2nd Lt. John Pedevillano, a WWII Army Air Corps B-17 bombardier, during a ceremony in his honor, in Wash...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Carlin Leslie

AF Vietnam veterans honored on Capitol Hill

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Carlin Leslie Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Larry O. Spencer, retired Air Force Col. Michael Brazelton, retired Air Force Col. William Driggers Jr., and the executive assistant to the chief ma...
 
 

Soldier missing from Korean War accounted for

The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced July 1 that the remains of a serviceman, missing from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors. Army Sgt. Joseph M. Snock Jr. of Apollo, Pennsylvania, was buried July 6, in Arlington National Cemetery. In...
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>