During the Memorial Day holiday, many people will pay visits to the graves of loved ones who have passed away. As they look across the fields and headstones, they may notice a small difference from the usual sight. They will see a lot of American Flags, flags that are not there normally.
In 1948, a tradition was started at Arlington National Cemetery. That year, the 3rd Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) was placed in charge of Arlington Cemetery. They decided to honor our fallen heroes by placing an American Flag at the headstone of all service members buried there. The flags are put in on the Saturday before Memorial Day and removed after Memorial Day. This has been done every year since 1948.
The tradition has expanded outward since it started. Now it includes all of the National Cemeteries where many Veterans and Service Members are buried. It has expanded also to the local areas. On the Saturday morning before Memorial Day, you may notice many members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), American Legion, and American Veterans walking through the local cemeteries and placing flags. We attempt to identify all Veterans buried here and insure that an American Flag is placed beside their marker. In this way, we can try to honor their service and sacrifice to our Country. In a small way, we can insure that they are not forgotten on Memorial Day.
So during the coming Memorial Day holiday, if you visit those who have passed on, look around for the American Flags and you will probably find a Veteran. Take a moment to remember that the freedoms we enjoy are possible due to the service and sacrifice of all the Veterans and Active Duty service men and women.
For God and Country
Commander - American Legion Patchogue Post 269