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Rated: E · Poetry · Military · #2045756
Every year, members of the 3rd Infantry place flags on the graves in Arlington Cemetary

         This poem is written around true events, and is as factual as my memory will allow. I've visited Arlington National Cemetery many times, and try to go each time I'm in the Washington DC area. In May of 2011, I'd been in Fairfax County Virginia the previous week, and had Friday afternoon free. I snapped these photos as the members of the 3rd Infantry Regiment placed the flags in preparation for Memorial Day. I've wanted to write something about that day for a long time. It finally came to me and demanded to be written. I just couldn't find a place to add in that I was asked by that young man if I'd like to place one of the flags. I didn't have to be asked twice!

The Flags of Arlington

The flags are aligned neatly in a row,
The sweating soldier feels a warm breeze blow.
You’d think this would be a task he hates.
This is something to which he can relate.

Many of his comrades will meet their fate,
Defending our country, the United States.
In Arlington, many are interred,
Listen closely, a bugle may be heard.

He pauses a moment in front of a grave,
I cried when I saw the salute he gave.
It was solemn, done with utmost respect,
I know the recipient would not object.

He lifted his head, saw the tears in my eyes,
I couldn’t help it, they had met their demise.
I watched a bit longer, they worked so hard,
This team of soldiers in the ‘Old Guard’.

The 3rd Infantry does this every year,
In this kind of work, to traditions you adhere.
I left that day knowing respect was not gone,
As long as men like him were there to lean on.

Jim Dorrell
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