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Haunting photo of soldier honoring unknown soldier stirs hearts ahead of Memorial Day

A Soldier of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) plants a U.S. flag in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during a severe storm for Flags In at Arlington National Cemetery, May 23, 2019. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Maryam Treece)

As vicious storms bore down on Washington ahead of Memorial Day, the intrepid members of the Third U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as “The Old Guard,” could be seen doing what they do every year – placing small American flags at each headstone in Arlington National Cemetery.

The sight of a soldier kneeling, seemingly impervious to the driving rain and the ominous gray sky, captivated special attention this year as a soldier knelt reverently and gently placed the flag.

“With only a few watching from cover, a Tomb Sentinel approached the Unknowns with U.S. flags in hand,” the Old Guard said in a Facebook post. “As thunder shook the ground and rains washed down without abandon, the Tomb Sentinel pierced through the elements with breathtaking precision.”

It made for a scene that was both moving and apocalyptic.

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“He knelt and placed the flags in honor of the Unknowns. For the select few who saw this moment, it was jaw-dropping. Humans have their limits, but The Old Guard has yet to meet theirs.”

The soldier who placed the flag was not unknown. He was Tyler McKee, according to WTHR-TV. He was participating in an annual ritual in which soldiers plant more than 245,000 U.S. flags in the cemetery.

The series of photos snapped by U.S. Army Sgt. Maryam Treece have been shared more than 130,000 times, NBC News noted.

The storm slammed into Washington last Thursday with pounding rain, crashing thunder and a tornado warning, causing extensive damage.

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© 2019 New York Daily News

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.