The Military District of Washington’s weekend of remembrance began May 23 when close to 1,000 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) Soldiers marched through 624 acres of Arlington National Cemetery to place an American flag at each graveside or columbarium niche.

The tradition known as Flags-In started during the one o’clock hour, and over 245,000 flags were loaded into ruck sacks and distributed from Sections 1 to 85 the Thursday before Memorial Day. While funerals were conducted and President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump made a Section 34 visit, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall-based Soldiers braved hot, humid weather conditions which quickly morphed into severe spring weather as the afternoon progressed.

During the 3 p.m. hour, skies turned threatening and severe thunderstorms and a tornado warning began, but flag placements at the Tomb of the Unknowns and cemetery columbariums continued. In the morning, Old Guard Soldiers decorated 14,000 grave sites at the Soldier’s and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

Flags-In has been conducted by The Old Guard at Arlington National Cemetery for over 55 years.

Pentagram Staff Writer Jim Dresbach can be reached at