“W.G. Mack … Thank you for your service.”
Whether known or unknown, over and over this morning, the names of those buried at Camp Nelson National Cemetery were read aloud in tribute to service not forgotten.
“Soldier 2145 … Thank you for your service.”
About 100 volunteers joined the national Flag and Flower Challenge at Camp Nelson. The effort was started two years ago by California resident Preston Sharp. Now 12 years old, Sharp has placed more than 65,000 flags and flowers at Veterans gravesites in 13 states over the last two years. Today’s event adds to that tally, with another 5000-plus flags and flowers and his 14th state.
“A Veteran’s name not said out loud is a Veteran forgotten,” Sharp told the volunteers gathered to help remember those who served. “Whenever you place a flag and a flower, say the Veteran’s name out loud and ‘thank you for your service.'”
Kentucky’s deputy commissioner of Veterans Affairs, Heather French Henry, thanked Sharp and local organizers for bringing the Flag and Flower Challenge to Camp Nelson.
“Thanks to you and the many others who are here, we are showing future generations that we will never forget another generation’s service and sacrifice,” said Henry.
“We often times talk about sacrifice and service that goes unrecognized,” Henry told the volunteers. “Whether it’s one day or 100 years, it’s never too late to say thank you, even it it means standing in front of their grave and placing a flower, placing a flag.”
Through the Flag and Flower Challenge, Sharp has been placing flags and flowers on the graves of Veterans since Veterans Day 2015. He began doing so after visiting his U.S. Navy Veteran grandfather’s grave, only to discover that there were no flags placed on the graves of Veterans.
For his efforts, the 12-year-old was recognized by President Donald Trump during this year’s State of the Union address this past January. At Camp Nelson, Sharp joined Marine Corps Veteran retired Cpl. Matthew Bradford who was also featured at the State of the Union Address. To learn more about Sharp, please click here.
Today, on Flag Day, the #FlagAndFlowerChallenge brought volunteers to Kentucky’s Camp Nelson @VANatCemeteries to place flags and carnations at the headstones of those buried there. As each was placed, volunteers read the name of the Veteran, saying “You are not forgotten.” pic.twitter.com/JYKeXfGWXf
— Veterans Affairs (@DeptVetAffairs) June 14, 2018