(Edited to add the picture I took this morning)
As we stand here looking
At the flags upon these graves
Know these flags represent
The true American brave
They fought for their Country
As man has through all of time
Except these soldiers lying here
Fought for your country and mine
As we all are gathered here
To pay them our respect
Let’s pass this word to others
It's what they would expect
I'm sure that they would do it
If it were me or you
To show we did not die in vain
But for the red, white and blue.
Let’s pass on to our children
And to those who never knew
What these soldiers died for
It's the least that we can do
Let’s not forget their families
Great pain they had to bear
Losing a son, father or husband
They need to know we still care
No matter which war was fought
On the day that they died
I stand here looking at these flags
Filled with American pride.
So as the bugler plays out Taps
With its sweet and eerie sound
Pray for these soldiers lying here
In this sacred, hallowed ground.
Take home with you a sense of pride
You were here Memorial Day.
Celebrating the way Americans should
On this solemnest of days.
Each year for the past 42 years, the 3rd U.S. Infantry (The Old Guard) has honored America's fallen heroes by placing American flags before the gravestones and niches of service members buried at both Arlington National Cemetery and the U.S. Soldier's and Airmen's Home National Cemetery just prior to Memorial Day weekend.
This tradition, known as "flags in," has been conducted annually since The Old Guard was designated as the Army's official ceremonial unit in 1948. Every available soldier in the 3rd U.S. Infantry participates, placing small American flags one foot in front and centered before each grave marker.
During an approximately three-hour period, the soldiers place flags in front of more than 260,000 gravestones and about 7,300 niches at the cemetery's columbarium. Another 13,500 flags are placed at the Soldier's and Airmen's Cemetery. As part of this yearly memorial activity, Old Guard soldiers remain in the cemetery throughout the weekend, ensuring that a flag remains at each gravestone.
American flags are also placed at the graves of each of the four unknown service men interred at the Tomb of the Unknowns, by the Tomb Sentinels. All flags are removed after Memorial Day before each cemetery is opened to the public.
(Copied from Dawn in Austin, May 2010)
This year, I will be here, in Arlington. I plan to go to the cemetery and see the flags for myself and remember the men and women who have fallen, all in the name of freedom. We wouldn’t even be a country without people like them.
As you celebrate the beginning of summer with family and friends, please take a moment to remember all of our servicemen and women, both past and present, who have given the ultimate sacrifice, so that we might be free.
For those who still serve…I humbly thank you.
Enjoy your weekend, and God Bless America!