Nearly 200 volunteers, children and loved ones of the fallen came out to lay about 8,000 American flags at Woodlawn National Cemetery on Friday morning.
Laying flags at the head of each gravestone at the cemetery is an annual tradition, but this year cemetery caretakers said it was the largest turn out they’ve seen for this particular event.
“All the people of Elmira are coming to put the flags on the graves,” Parker Dawson, one of the child volunteers, said.
Veterans don’t want this time of reflection to fade into the buzz of holiday stigma.
“Memorial Day is a remembrance, it’s not a holiday,” Danny Young, a veteran, said. “This is about the veterans that have fallen, giving people the freedoms that they get to enjoy every day.”
Even some children hope others can understand the real meaning behind Memorial Day.
“You should care for the people who gave their lives for our country,” Jakob Hagerman, another young volunteer, said.
And caring was exactly what the community did as a record number of volunteers showed up this year to pay their respects as Memorial Day Weekend kicked off.
“These rows and rows of white stones are all the members of this community that gave the ultimate sacrifice,” Larry Sherman, President of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 803, said.
Woodlawn National Cemetery caretakers said they need help to collect the flags on Tuesday, May 28 at 9:00 a.m. They plan on using the flags for next year’s Memorial Day Weekend.