Roanoke veterans honor Memorial Day by placing 3,400 flags on soldiers’ graves

Published: May. 23, 2023 at 6:14 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Thousands of flags now mark the final resting places of Roanoke Valley’s veterans and fallen soldiers at Evergreen Burial Park.

The post commander of Post 1264 VFW helped coordinate dozens of volunteers to spend Tuesday morning at the cemetery, placing American flags on the graves of those who fought for freedom.

“As a fellow veteran, we’re here to honor those who came before us,” Christopher Smith said. “It’s just humbling to know that there are some of us here who try to take the time to remember veterans.”

Volunteers from VFW Post 1264, Good Samaritan Hospice, Botetourt County Chamber of Commerce and Patrick Henry High School Junior ROTC placed 3,400 flags as a thank-you to those who served.

“A flag is a great way to thank them because they didn’t have to do this,” Junior ROTC student Seth Shepherd said. “They decided to do it and risked their lives for us to have our freedom and have what we have as a community.”

The senior aerospace science instructor for the Air Force Junior ROTC program at Patrick Henry teaches his students that freedom isn’t free.

“There were people before them that served their country, paid, in some cases, the ultimate sacrifice for all these rights, privileges, liberties that we have,” Colonel Steven Boyd said. “I just don’t want them to forget it.”

As many look to the three-day weekend, veterans hope the meaning of Memorial Day isn’t lost.

“Appreciate how many people did in fact sacrifice a part of their lives to serve their country,” Colonel Boyd said.

The flags will stay up in the cemetery until Tuesday, May 30. Anyone interested in helping remove the flags can contact the VFW.