Soldiers Place 234,000 Flags at Arlington Cemetery for Memorial Day (photos)

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Sergeant First Class Daniel Brooks plants an American flag at the gravesite of Spanish American war veteran Victor Homer Peabody.

In a tradition known as “Flags In,” roughly 1000 soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) placed 234,000 American flags at the final resting place of service members interred at Arlington National Cemetery, on Thursday May 24, in preparation for Memorial Day. (This includes flags placed at the columbarium/niche wall.) Each flag had to be centered and placed in a specific spot, exactly one foot in front of each headstone. Flags were also placed at the Tomb of the Union Soldier, and at the other memorials inside the cemetery.

The tradition of placing flags dates back to 1948. The entire operation would take about 4 hours. “The soldiers aren’t in any hurry to rush through this, it means a lot to them,” said public affairs officer Major Rob Lodewick. The flags will remain throughout the holiday weekend until Tuesday, prior to the cemetery opening.

View Jeff Malet’s photos from Arlington National Cemetery by clicking on the photo icons below.

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