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.


 
 

 
WWII-MIA

Missing World War II Soldier accounted for

The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced today that the remains of a missing World War II U.S. serviceman have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors, acco...
 
 
stamps2

New stamp folio to honor Vietnam Medal of Honor recipients

Nearly a dozen Vietnam Medal of Honor recipients will help the U.S. Postal Service dedicate a limited-edition stamp folio honoring them and other Vietnam heroes on Memorial Day. The “Medal of Honor: Vietnam War Forever...
 
 
af-medal

American Fighter Aces receive Congressional Gold Medal

Leaders from the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate presented the Congressional Gold Medal to the American Fighter Aces Association May 20 at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center Emancipation Hall. The Congressional Gold Medal...
 

 
Korea-MIA

Soldier missing from Korean War accounted for

The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced May 22 that the remains of a U.S. soldier missing from the Korean War have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors, a...
 
 
Army photogaph by J.D. Leipold

Soldiers participate during Flags In at Arlington Cemetery

Army photogaph by J.D. Leipold Old Guard and other ceremonial units place more than 228,000 miniature flags throughout Arlington National Cemetery, Va., May 21, 2015, in advance of Memorial Day, May 25. The Flags In mission has...
 
 

In memoriam

Remembering TSgt. Anthony E. Salazar TSgt. Anthony E. Salazar, age 40, died April 13 in a noncombat related incident at an air base in Southwest Asia while serving during Operation Inherent Resolve. Salazar, a native of Hermosa Beach, Calif., was assigned to U.S. Air Forces Central Command’s 577th Expeditionary Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force Squadron,...
 




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>