Headstone after headstone, soldiers plant flags in the ground. One boot away from the grave markers of our nation’s fallen heroes

“This is just an opportunity for us to say you laid your life down for our country and we have not forgotten you,” says Colonel Jerry Farnsworth, Arlington National Cemetery.

The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment also known as the Old Guard has been tasked with the duty of honoring our nation’s fallen, with their annual “Flags In” ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. 

“The American flag to service members means so much. It is really that symbol of freedom,” says Farnsworth.

The tradition began in 1948 when the Old Guard was designated the Army’s official ceremonial unit.

Farnsworth said, “It is really about remembering those who you have served with and all of the conflicts that we have had over the years here and just having the opportunity to remember them.”

Colonel Fransworth says in life the service member honored the flag and in death the flag honors them. 

“243,000 headstones. Not everyone of those headstones has family or friends who will come and remember that.”

The Flags In Ceremony is the first of more than two dozen ceremonies that take place this Memorial Day weekend at Arlington National Cemetery leading up to a National Ceremony on Monday.