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Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery

Memorial Day weekend is an exceptionally special time of year at Arlington National Cemetery—which hosted the first official, national "Decoration Day" commemoration in 1868. This tradition eventually became known as Memorial Day, now held on the last Monday of May. 

Events to honor our nation's fallen service members will be held throughout the weekend. Click the tabs at left for details about each event. 

Flags In: Thursday, May 23

•  The 3d Infantry Regiment, also known as The Old Guard, will place American flags at the base of more than 260,000 headstones and more than 7,000 columbarium niche rows in the cemetery, as well as at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This tradition has taken place every year since The Old Guard's establishment as the Army's official ceremonial unit in 1948. 

•  Flags In, which takes place prior to the cemetery's opening at 8 a.m., is not a public event. However, the public will have the opportunity to see flags at every gravesite and columbarium niche row throughout Memorial Day weekend. 

•  Read about this year's Flags In event, and see photos

Flowers of Remembrance Day: Sunday, May 26

•  Members of the public will have the special opportunity to walk across the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier plaza and place a flower at the Tomb. During this event, visitors may also place a flower at headstones or columbarium niches throughout the cemetery.

•  Flowers will be provided by the Memorial Day Flowers Foundation. Visitors should not bring their own flowers. 

•  At 10 a.m. in the outdoor bowl of Memorial Amphitheater, ANC historians will offer a public program on the history of Decoration Day/Memorial Day, this holiday’s importance to ANC and its connections to the Flowers of Remembrance Day event. After the 10 a.m. talk, they will lead an optional walking tour to locations related to the official Decoration Day commemoration at ANC. No registration is necessary for participation.

National Memorial Day Observance: Monday, May 27

•  The 156th National Memorial Day Observance, recognizing and commemorating the fallen men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces, will take place at 11 a.m. ANC's Memorial Amphitheater. This annual event is free and open to the public Seating in the amphitheater is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

•  Scheduled public events include performances by the United States Air Force Band’s Singing Sergeants and the U.S. Coast Guard Band, followed by a parade of colors by veterans’ organizations and remarks from dignitaries.

•  Walking to and from the amphitheater is strictly prohibited. Those interested in attending the observance must use the tram from the Welcome Center to the Memorial Amphitheater. The tram will run from 8:30 a.m. until capacity for the event is reached. Immediately following the ceremony, the tram will resume operations and begin returning attendees to the Welcome Center from the conclusion of the ceremony until 2 p.m.

•  A live stream of the event will be available at www.dvidshub.net/webcast/34418