Memorial Day comes this weekend and, while it’s often a time to barbecue, open community pools, and have parades, the real meaning of Memorial Day is in remembering our country’s fallen heroes and heroines. Did you know that Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day, because it was a day to honor the fallen by placing flowers and flags on their graves?
This morning, on the radio on the way to work, I heard a story about the 3rd U.S. Infantry (The Old Guard) and how soldiers in this unit participate in a ceremony called Flags In. During this ceremony, flags are placed at each grave marker in Arlington National Cemetery and the U.S. Soldier’s and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery to honor those who are buried there. That’s over 280,000 flags and they place them in three hours! The flags are removed before the cemeteries open on the day after Memorial Day.
Of course, that radio story encouraged me to find out more about 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), and I discovered that this particular unit of the Army has been serving since 1784 and is the official ceremonial unit, escort to the president, and secures our nation’s capital in times of national emergency. (www.arlingtoncemetery.mil) The Old Guard participates in more than 6,000 ceremonies each year. Can you figure out how many that averages out to per day? It’s a lot!
Take a brief look at Arlington National Cemetery in this video, found in your Discovery Education account. And tell us in the Comments who and how you are honoring this Memorial Day.