Volunteers decorate military graves

James Linn, an Army veteran, separates a flag from the bunch so it can be placed in front of a headstone at Fairview Cemetery on Saturday morning. Linn, his wife and his son, got an early start on Saturday, ensuring the veteran’s section was decorated before volunteers arrived to help with the rest.

Flags were placed on close to 2,000 graves on Saturday at two local cemeteries in honor of Memorial Day, thanks to the help of more than 50 volunteers.

American Legion Post 5 member and former state commander Beth Linn led the charge to ensure veterans at Fairview and Sunset Cemeteries had flags waving in front of their graves.

PHOTOS: Fairview Cemetery

“We do this to recognize our fallen,” Linn said, who is an Army veteran.

Of the nearly 2,000 flags placed, 1,500 were set at Fairview Cemetery, with the remainder at Sunset.

Typically, local Boy Scouts help with the efforts, but because of COVID-19, things had to be done a little bit differently this year, said Linn. She, her husband and her son got an early start, ensuring the military section at Fairview was completed before other volunteers arrived.

Instead of everyone gathering together at a central meeting point, they were sent to their sections and flags were brought to them. Linn said she tried to keep family groups together as she was planning, including Haleigh Richter’s family.

“I heard they were needing volunteers,” Richter said, who thought it would be something good for her family to do.

On Saturday morning, Richter, her husband and their children made their way through a front section of the cemetery, with the kids taking turns placing flags.

Linn said she is grateful to have the help of volunteers every year, noting that no one involved gets paid for placing the flags. Instead, they do it because they feel those beneath the headstones deserve the recognition.

“Memorial Day is the one day out of the year that we make a concerted effort to honor them,” Linn said. “With everything going on in the world, that is more vital than ever.”

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Kamie Stephen is a reporter with the Star-Herald. She can be reached at 308-632-9041 or via email at kamie.stephen@starherald.com.

Kamie Stephen is a reporter with the Star-Herald. She can be reached at 308-632-9041 or via email at kamie.stephen@starherald.com.

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