Every Memorial Day weekend, troops in the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment—the Army’s official ceremonial unit known as the “The Old Guard”—place small American flags in front of all of headstones at the cemetery.
Each flag is centered precisely one foot in front of the headstone. The tradition known as “Flags-In,” takes place on the Thursday afternoon before Memorial Day. The flags are removed early Tuesday morning after Memorial Day.
On Monday, the annual National Memorial Day Observance to honor America’s fallen military service members is scheduled at the cemetery.
The U.S. Army Military District of Washington will conduct a Presidential Armed Forces Full Honor Wreath-Laying Ceremony at 11 a.m. at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, to be followed by an observance program hosted by the Department of Defense in Arlington’s Memorial Amphitheater. A prelude by the U.S. Navy Band will begin in the amphitheater at 10:30 a.m.
Both the wreath-laying ceremony and the observance program are free and open to the general public. No tickets are needed. Space is limited to standing room only for the wreath-laying ceremony and seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis in the amphitheater. Attendees are encouraged to be at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier or seated in the amphitheater by 9:30 a.m. Arlington will open at 8 a.m.
Free parking is available for vehicles in the Arlington National Cemetery Welcome Center parking lot until 2 p.m. A free shuttle service will provide transportation to Memorial Amphitheater beginning at 8 a.m. The last shuttle from the Welcome Center is at 10:15 a.m. or when the Memorial Amphitheater is full. Walking to the amphitheater is prohibited. After the observance is over, shuttles will provide transportation back to the Welcome Center until 2 p.m.
Attendees will be required to pass through a security checkpoint to gain access to the amphitheater for the official program. Items prohibited on the premises include: Large bags and backpacks, firearms and weapons of any type, laser pointers, aerosol containers, soda cans, umbrellas, coolers, picnic baskets, tripods, lighters, personal protection sprays, insulated beverage containers and anything that could potentially be used as a weapon.
Attendees are encouraged to bring clear plastic refillable water bottles. There will be water stations near Memorial Amphitheater for ceremony attendees to refill their water bottles.
NOTE: DoD ID card holders may park at the Old Post Chapel gate on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall and take a free shuttle to the amphitheater. Walking is prohibited.
Questions? Call the cemetery at (877) 907-8585.