KERN COUNTY, Calif. (KERO) — With the nation coming together for Memorial Day not only for the first major three-day weekend since COVID-19 restrictions began to lift but also to honor our nation's heroes that sacrificed their lives for our freedom.
The Army's Old Guard began the process of placing American flags at the more than 260,000 headstones at Arlington National Cemetery on Thursday.
The Third Infantry Regiment has been following this tradition before Memorial Day weekend every year since 1948. That's when the regiment was officially designated as the army's ceremonial unit.
Each flag is inserted into the ground, exactly one boot length from the headstone's base, to honor every fallen hero. Then all the flags are removed after Memorial Day before the cemetery re-opens to the public.
Starting Saturday in Kern County there will be a handful of events to remember those who lost their lives while serving their country.
The Bakersfield Breakfast Rotary Club will unfold its thousand flags event at the Park at Riverwalk beginning at noon on Saturday.
Union Cemetery held a virtual event last year during the pandemic. Officials say this year the public is invited to return to the historic resting place of Kern County veterans and pay tribute beginning at 9 a.m. There will be speakers, music, and a cannon salute to remember their sacrifice.
Greenlawn Cemetery is asking you to join them at their Northeast Memorial Park for a tribute starting at 11 a.m.
The Bakersfield National Cemetery will hold a small private gathering due to COVID restrictions and it will be posted to their Facebook page.
In Shafter on Monday AMVETS is hosting a tribute with COVID protocols in place. That will be from 7 a.m. to noon at the Shafter Cemetery.
The Tehachapi American Legion Post 221 is hosting a Memorial Day parade on Monday starting at 10 a.m. The parade will run east along F Street beginning at Mulberry Street and turn south on Mojave Street ending at Central Park. That’s where a flag-raising ceremony will happen at 11 a.m.
You may be wondering about the history of Memorial Day and so we took a deeper dive into its history and found three facts you might not know about the holiday.
First, the practice of honoring those who have fallen in battle dates back thousands of years by ancient Greeks to remember loved ones lost in battle each year. One of the earliest American Memorial Days was organized back on May 1st, 1865, where more than 1,000 people freed from enslavement gathered at a former prisoner camp to honor those killed in battle.
And some rituals include hanging an American flag at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day, then raised to the top of the staff. And all Americans are encouraged to pause for a national moment of remembrance at 3 p.m. local time.