Flags-in ceremony honors fallen

Courtesy photo: Capt. Daniel J. Watson A soldier places a flag on the grave of Capt. Kermit Evans during a Flags-In ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery on May 26. Capt. Evans was killed Dec.3, 2006, in a helicopter crash in Iraq. He was deployed from Cannon Air Force Base where he was the Explosive Ordnance Disposal flight commander.

A soldier, with a pack full of American flags, slowly bends down and plants one exactly 12 inches in front of another tombstone at Arlington National Cemetery. The following was etched into the marble:

Kermit O Evans Sr

Capt USAF

Apr 15 1975

Dec 3 2006

Operation Iraqi Freedom

Bronze Star

Loving Son

Brother

Husband & Father

The soldier then moves to another grave and repeats the quiet ceremony. There are 250,000 more who must be honored. Capt. Kermit Evans, died in a helicopter crash in Iraq Dec. 3, 2006. He was deployed from Cannon Air Force Base where he commanded the Explosive Ordnance Disposal flight. The Hollandale, Miss. native left behind Perneathea Evans, his wife, and Kermit O. Evans Jr., his then-13-month-old son.

This simple act of placing a small American Flag on the graves of those who gave their lives for their nation is called a Flags-In Ceremony. It marked the beginning of Memorial Day observances at the cemetery at Fort Myer, Va., and throughout the nation. Every year more than 1,500 men and women from the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard precisely placed the flags on row upon row of silent warriors. Each individual completes an entire row to ensure uniformity. The entire ceremony takes three hours.