Reuters

The country prepares for Memorial Day.

Every year, the 3rd U.S. Infantry gathers at Arlington National Ceremony for a tradition called "flags in."

It's just what it sounds like. Over the course of about three hours, soldiers place miniature flags in front of 260,000 gravestones and 7,300 niches at columbarium, where cinerary urns are held. According to the Arlington National Cemetery website:

Every available soldier in the 3rd U.S. Infantry participates, placing small American flags one foot in front and centered before each grave marker. 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.

Below, scenes from the Cemetery during today's preparation, along with other photos of Washington, D.C, and Boston.

A soldier from the Third U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) carries flags to be placed beside graves at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. The annual "Flags-In" ceremony is held ahead of Memorial Day to honor the nation's fallen members of the military. Flags will be placed at more than 220,000 graves. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)



Soldiers from the Third U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) place a flag at a grave at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)



A woman takes pictures of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall, etched with the names of more than 58,000 U.S. servicemen and women who died in the war. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)



The U.S. national flag composed of flowers is placed near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall etched with names of more than 58,000 U.S. servicemen and women who died in the war, in Washington. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)



A museum worker walks under some of the over 1,000 hand sewn flags that make up the "To Boston With Love" project at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in Boston, Massachusetts May 23, 2013. The flags, made by artists from across the United States and around the world, carry messages of hope to the the people of Boston following the Boston Marathon bombings, and are a part of the MFA's free "Boston I Love" Memorial Day Community Weekend. (Brian Snyder/Rueters)


 

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