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Photo: ‘Flags-In’ at Arlington National Cemetery ahead of Memorial Day

A time-honored, pre-Memorial Day tradition took place at Arlington National Cemetery this morning.

More than 1,000 soldiers with the Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment, also known as The Old Guard, as well as servicemembers from ceremonial units of the other armed forces branches, fanned out over the cemetery’s 640 acres to place 260,000 flags next to headstones and niche rows.

The annual “Flags-in” mission takes only four hours to honor every individual laid to rest at the ceremony, including our nation’s fallen military heroes.

ARLnow staff photographer Jay Westcott and other members of the media were able to get a glimpse of the marvel of solemnity and logistics today around dawn, as birds chirped on a cool, overcast morning.

This Memorial Day weekend also brings a new tradition: the public getting a rare opportunity to lay flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

“Due to the public’s overwhelming positive response to the Flower Laying Ceremony during the Tomb Centennial Commemoration in November, ANC is inviting the public to once again honor our service members by placing flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider,” the cemetery said earlier this week

The inaugural Flowers of Remembrance Day is taking place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

More about the event from a cemetery press release, below.

Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) is honored to announce the first Flowers of Remembrance Day on May 28, 2022 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

“The Unknown Soldiers gave their lives and their identities in service to our nation. We had such an overwhelming response to the flower ceremony during the Centennial Commemoration of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in November 2021 that we will again allow our visitors to honor and respect their sacrifice by placing flowers at their graveside,” said Army National Military Cemeteries and Arlington National Cemetery Executive Director Karen Durham-Aguilera.

Flowers of Remembrance Day pays homage to the first official Decoration Day, now known as Memorial Day, which originally took place in Arlington National Cemetery in 1868 as a way to honor the sacrifices of those who fought and died in the Civil War. This first Decoration Day featured a procession from Arlington House to the Tomb of the Civil War Unknowns and further into the cemetery, where people decorated the graves with flowers. This became an annual tradition and established Arlington as the site of the nation’s official, annual Decoration Day observance.

“Every day is Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery,” said Superintendent of Arlington National Cemetery Charles “Ray” Alexander. “This special day will provide the American public the opportunity to honor and remember at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and explore the national shrine that we are entrusted to preserve and protect.

ANC historians will offer history talks at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. in the center of the Memorial Amphitheater to share the history of Decoration Day. An optional walking tour will follow the 10:00 a.m. talk only.

Flowers will be provided or members of the public may bring any long-stemmed flower to place at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Visitors should not bring vases, wreaths, or flowers with any packaging or plastic containers. The public is also encouraged to bring water and wear comfortable shoes for walking to the Tomb plaza.

As part of Arlington National Cemetery’s new Education Program, an educational module on the history and significance of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is available at:

https://education.arlingtoncemetery.mil

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St. Charles offers a play-based curriculum in a welcoming, Christ-centered environment.

Our program focuses on socio-emotional development and kindergarten readiness through hands-on and engaging activities. Our programs offer different schedules ranging from 7:30 am-5:30 pm for students, ages 2-5. We feature a full-day Jr. kindergarten class for older 4’s/5’s. Our facility includes a full-sized gymnasium, school chapel, and library. All of our students enjoy music and physical education weekly. Children have an opportunity to participate in enrichment classes such as soccer, basketball, ballet, and science.

We offer Summer Camp with weekly themes and twice a week water play, including Fun Friday moon bounce. Please join us for our Open House Feb. 3 at 9:30 am and 11:00 am. Click here to sign-up.

For more information or to schedule a tour, visit us at www.stcharlesarlington.org or call (703) 527-0608.

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If you are a lifelong learner over 50+ who wants to make new friends, power up your brain, and enjoy a wide-variety college-level courses, Encore Learning is for you. An Arlington based nonprofit, Encore Learning offers courses in the arts, theater, literature, history, technology and more. This semester we offer our most popular course, Global Hot Spots as well as 25 new courses. Courses are presented either online or in-person at George Mason University at Virginia Square and other Arlington locations.

Join the free presentation to learn about courses and meet the instructors. This is Encore Learning’s signature event to highlight the upcoming semester with brief presentations by each instructor.

The Spring Course Preview event is Thursday, February 2nd at 9:30 AM via Zoom: 

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84855394419

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