WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Arlington Cemetery Gets Prepped For Memorial Day

Play associated audio
A member of the 3rd Infantry Division places flags on markers at Arlington National Cemetery.
Armando Trull
A member of the 3rd Infantry Division places flags on markers at Arlington National Cemetery.

The U.S. Army's ceremonial unit have been marking Memorial Day with a solemn ritual. The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as the "old guard," is carrying on with a tradition that dates back to 1948 — the flags-in ceremony. Every available old guard soldier will place a small American flag on the grave markers at Arlington National Ceremony.

Scores of these men and women, uniformed in their green battle fatigues march into Arlington Cemetery, section 60. They carry dozens of flags in their backpacks. Approaching each marker, they solemnly place the flag exactly one foot in front and in the center of the headstone. The soldier then moves away. There are family members there as well, they look on with gratitude.

The solemn ritual to honor the men and women who answered their nation's call, will be repeated more than 220,000 times, at each and every marker in Arlington. From the first union soldiers buried at the site in 1864 to the more recent markers, where Iraq and Afghanistan soldiers were laid to rest.

The flags will also be placed at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

Jennifer Lynch is with Arlington National Cemetery. She says that, for the second year in a row, flower-growers from Ecuador and California have donated 50,000 roses, which will be handed out to visitors.

"It's a way to honor those that have paid the sacrifice, and it's also a way to remember," said Lynch. "So you take one, you place it on the grave, and you take one home with you."

Lynch says temperatures over the weekend are expected to be in the 90s. Visitors should bring clear plastic bottles, so they can fill them with water from the drinking fountain at the cemetery.

Visitors who wish to attend the official ceremony will need to undergo security screening before being allowed to enter the amphitheater.

WAMU 88.5

Dick Van Dyke: "Keep Moving"

Dick Van Dyke has been charming audiences for generations. In a new memoir, the actor explains how he stays in touch with his inner child and why life gets better the longer you live it.


King Of Beers: SABMiller Agrees In Principle To Merger With Budweiser Brewer

If the deal is formally agreed upon, the company would own around 31 percent of beer sales around the world.

LIVE CHAT: Join NPR's Politics Team For The Democratic Debate

Join us over on Twitter during the debate by following and contributing to #nprdebate or @nprpolitics, or post your comments, questions and observations here.
WAMU 88.5

Global Security Threats Posed By The Increasingly Sophisticated Tools Of Cyberwarfare

The U.S., Russia, China, Iran and North Korea have emerged as major players in the new world of cyberwarfare. With a panel of experts, we discuss global security threats posed by increasingly sophisticated malware and the new digital arms race.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.