How Arlington National Cemetery is prepping for a busy Memorial Day weekend

John F Kennedy Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/jkaufmann88)

Preparations are well underway at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia for the busy Memorial Day weekend ahead.

It’s Flags-In on Thursday afternoon. The public is invited to watch soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment carry out a more than 60 year tradition, placing American flags at each headstone.

CEO of Historic Tours of America Chris Belland and President and CEO of Suburban Propane Michael Stivala placed a wreath at the grave site of President John F. Kennedy on Tuesday.

Suburban Propane has an unusual connection to the 60-year history of the Kennedy grave site at Arlington.

“In 1963, Jackie Kennedy, as a last minute decision, wanted to have the eternal flame at the grave site and it was about a day or so before the burial ceremony,” Stivala said.

In the dark days following the presidential assassination in Dallas, with little time before the state funeral, the White House contacted Suburban’s facility in Rockville, Maryland.

“We were able to get the piping done and get the propane service up and running in time for the ceremony,” said Stivala.

Weekend events

The weekend activities will include hundreds of motorcyclists laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Saturday.

Members of the public who have preregistered will be able to attend a sunrise photo shoot early Sunday morning.

The cemetery will feature the second Flowers of Remembrance Day, in which members of the public will each be given a flower to place at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. That event goes from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

On Memorial Day

On Monday, Memorial Day, there’ll be an Armed Forces Full Honors wreath-laying at the Kennedy grave site at 8:30 a.m. in honor of Kennedy’s 100th birthday.

The Full Honors National Memorial Day Observance ceremony will take place at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at 11 a.m. The Memorial Day Program will follow in Arlington’s Memorial Amphitheater.

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Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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