Soldiers Decorate Graves At Arlington National Cemetery With Flags

Every year since 1948, soldiers from the Old Guard at Fort Myer place one flag on each grave. There are more than 220,000 marble headstones in the cemetery.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

This is a significant holiday at Arlington National Cemetery. It's just across the Potomac River from us here in Washington, D.C.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And it's the scene of an annual ritual conducted by the 3rd Infantry Regiment. They're known as The Old Guard. And every year its soldiers place one flag in front of each marble headstone in the military cemetery. There are 220,000 of them.

INSKEEP: The process takes about four hours. It involves hundreds of servicemen and women, including Lt. Lauren Glover. She told a local ABC affiliate that taking part was a privilege.

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LT. LAUREN GLOVER: It's something different - a different way to celebrate Memorial Day 'cause some of these people don't have families that come out and put a flag in front of it. So it's kind of nice to be out here with the fellow soldiers and then to honor those who came before us.

GREENE: The graves at Arlington are filled with American dead dating back to the Civil War. The 3rd Infantry has placed the flags there in time for each Memorial Day since 1948.

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GREENE: You're listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News.

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