News / USA

US Soldiers Place Flags at Arlington Cemetery for Memorial Day

Soldiers Place US Flags in Arlington Cemetery for Memorial Dayi
X
May 25, 2013 2:50 AM
On Memorial Day - Monday, May 27 this year - Americans remember those in the military who died while serving their country. Ahead of that day, soldiers place American flags in front of the more than 360,000 gravestones in Arlington National Cemetery, outside Washington. VOA’s Deborah Block brings us to the famous military cemetery for what is known as the Flags-In Ceremony.

Soldiers Place US Flags in Arlington Cemetery for Memorial Day

Deborah Block
— On Memorial Day - Monday, May 27 this year - Americans remember those in the military who died while serving their country. Ahead of that day, soldiers place American flags in front of the more than 360,000 gravestones in Arlington National Cemetery, outside Washington.

Army Colonel James Markert placed a flag at the tombstone of Christopher Henderson, who was killed in Afghanistan almost six years ago.  Henderson’s widow, Jennifer, and their daughter came to the cemetery as they have every year since he died.

“Being here with him, it’s a closer connection and it’s a way to honor what he did,” explained Jennifer Henderson.

The 3rd US infantry, known as the Old Guard, is a ceremonial unit. It has been placing flags at the graves for about 60 years. Colonel Markert is the commander.

“It's a way of sustaining that promise to our service members that if something should happen to them, we’ll make sure their families in there are taken care of and remembered,” said Markert.

This family is visiting the gravesite of William Beardsley, who also died in Iraq and would have been 32 years old today. His mother, Diana, said they leave messages when they visit.

“Especially the kids, filling him in where they’re at in their lives, and what’s happened over the last year, and we read them here at the gravesite,” said Diana Beardsley.

It takes 1,300 soldiers about three hours to place a flag at each grave, some of which date back to 1864 and the American Civil War. Some of the gravestones indicate that service members fought in multiple wars.

This is the first time Sergeant Ricardo Rodriguez has taken part in the Flags-In ceremony.

“I feel very privileged to be out here and render our honors to our fallen comrades,” said Rodriguez.

The soldiers carry dozens of flags in their backpacks. They place one about 30 centimeters in front of each headstone, using a shoe to help measure the distance.

Sergeant Ann Ogonowski is a fifth generation soldier. "It’s a pride and honor. This is the finest thing, I believe, that you can do honorably as a soldier in this unit.”

Specialist Taylor Davis, who has taken part for several years, is awestruck by the size of the cemetery.

“The sheer number of men and women who are buried there and the feeling of inspiration.  It’s really a very unique feeling,” said Taylor.

And for those whose loved ones are buried in Arlington National Cemetery, it gives them a special feeling too.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid