ARLINGTON, Va. (CBSDC/AP) — Soldiers are placing more than 220,000 small U.S. flags at Arlington National Cemetery to mark the start of Memorial Day weekend activities.

The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, also known as The Old Guard, is planting a flag at each grave marker starting Thursday afternoon.

They also will place flags at the Tomb of the Unknowns and at the cemetery columbarium.

All the flags will be removed after Memorial Day.

The unit has been carrying out the annual tradition since 1948.

Arlington National Cemetery is open to visitors free of Charge on Monday for the National Memorial Day Observance to be held in the Memorial Amphitheater. This year’s observance includes a number of events to honor the fallen, including for the second year, the “Memorial Flowers” gift donation.

A prelude concert by the United States Army Band will begin in the amphitheater at 10:30 a.m. A wreath-laying ceremony will take place at the Tomb of the Unknowns at 11 a.m.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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