BATH, N.Y. (WETM) – Memorial Day is this upcoming Monday. It is a time to remember and honor those who have died while serving our country. 5th graders at Bath Dana Lyon Middle School spent the day doing just that.

All of the 5th graders spent their morning placing flags at 17,000 headstones at the Bath National Cemetery. The students have been learning about Memorial Day in their classes and say they’ve learned a great deal about how important this day is.

“It lets me recognize the ones who have passed and all the ones who died for us to protect us,” said 5th grader Adam Beams.

“It makes me feel very grateful that this is happening,” said 5th grader Peyton Najadi. “A lot of families have lost someone and they can still come here to honor them.”

The tradition of putting flags on headstones at Bath National Cemetery has been going on for years. Adults that were in attendance explained that they are glad it has carried on for so long.

“This is quite the tradition,” said Bath National Cemetery director Duane Mendenhall. “It instills respect. That’s the closest they’ll get right now to understanding exactly what was sacrificed for each and every one of them in our country.”

After placing the flags, a reenact joined the students to talk about the Civil War and military history.

“It makes me feel proud that the kids are actually trying to learn something,” said Kevin Morris who portrays Daniel M. Holt, a surgeon from Upstate, New York who served during the Civil War. “They want to show respect for those that have actually served and died and given the ultimate sacrifice for us.”

A ceremony will take place the morning of Memorial Day which is Monday, May 29th at the Bath National Cemetery. The kids will return on Tuesday to pick up all of the flags, and the 5th grade class next year will return to continue the tradition.