Soldiers placing 230,000 US flags at Arlington Cemetery

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Memorial Day Flags_209457

Junior ROTC members from Revere, Mass. High School help to plant flags on the Boston Common, Wednesday, May 25, 2016, in Boston. Some 37,000 flags honoring the fallen members of the military from Massachusetts since the Revolutionary War will be placed for Memorial Day weekend. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — Soldiers are placing nearly a quarter of a million U.S. flags at Arlington National Cemetery as part of a Memorial Day tradition.

The event Thursday is known as “flags in.” It marks the beginning of Memorial Day weekend activities at the cemetery.

The U.S. Army Military District of Washington says in a statement that the tradition began in 1948. The mission is carried out by the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, nicknamed “The Old Guard.” The unit puts every available soldier to work, planting small flags in front of the more than 230,000 grave markers.

The soldiers also place about 14,000 flags at the Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery in Washington.

The flags are removed after Memorial Day, before the cemeteries open to the public.

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