Proud American

Memorial Day tradition: Arlington National Cemetery gets more than 280,000 flags

Soldiers will place U.S. flags in front of more than 280,000 headstones on Thursday at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia as part of a Memorial Day tradition to honor America’s fallen heroes.

“'Flags in' is a time-honored tradition that is reserved for soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard),” the Arlington National Cemetery said in a statement.

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The event marks the start of Memorial Day weekend activities at the cemetery. The tradition began in 1948, according to the cemetery.

During the ceremony, more than 1,000 Old Guard Soldiers will place a U.S. flag in front of more than 280,000 headstones as well as in front of the columbariums "to account for more than 400,000 interred,” the statement said.

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The event will also feature a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The public is encouraged to watch but cannot participate in the placing of the flags.

After Memorial Day, the flags are removed before the cemeteries open to the public.