Paying tribute in a small town for Memorial Day

“Flags in” becomes a family tradition


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What started two years ago as a way to pay respect to ancestors has now become a family tradition for my husband, his family and me.

Flags InOn the Friday of Memorial Day weekend 2013, my husband and I had a Veteran military marker added to his third great grandfather’s gravesite for his service during the Civil War. We placed a flag there and at the grave of his great grandfather, who served during World War I.

The next day, we brought members of the family with us to see the new marker. When we got there, our flag had been moved several rows away to another marker. But we didn’t move it back and instead put another flag in its place.

We didn’t get upset about the flag being moved. We got an idea. What if we placed flags at all of the military markers in this small Illinois cemetery?

That’s what we did.

Last year, we ordered 150 flags and on the Saturday before Memorial Day gathered family – parents, siblings, nieces and nephews – and headed to the cemetery with flags in hand. Every row was walked and each grave that memorialized a Veteran received a flag…until we ran out.

Flags InNext weekend, we will return to the cemetery with even more flags. Putting flags in for the Veterans buried there — men and women who served in every era since the Civil War — is now a part of our Memorial Day tradition. It’s one way we can pay tribute to those who have passed on.

It’s also an opportunity to teach the next generation about the sacrifices made by our Servicemembers every day and encourage them to appreciate those who have chosen to serve.


Memorial Day 2015#HonorAVeteran

Thousands of patriotic citizens from around the country will honor the service and sacrifice of our nation’s fallen heroes at VA national cemeteries on Memorial Day, May 25, 2015. Ceremonies can vary from cemetery to cemetery, and may include parades, speeches, music performances, rifle volleys, bugle calls and wreath layings. Veterans service organizations will participate, as well as active duty military members, scout groups, government officials and citizens who wish to pay their respects to those who sacrificed so much for their country.

Some cemeteries hold their observances prior to May 25. View a complete list of 2015 Memorial Day Events at VA National Cemeteries.

Author

Megan Moloney

— Megan served at VA from May 2013 to July 2018. She is the daughter, granddaughter and spouse of Army and Navy Veterans who served in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.