American Legion Post offering free flags Saturday to put on graves of veterans

From Staff Reports

May 23, 2008 - Hopkins County American Legion Post 66 plans to renew an old tradition by honoring the graves of U.S. veterans in recognition of Memorial Day.

According to Jim Myrick, commander of Hopkins County American Legion Post 66, Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day, and was set aside to provide a time to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers and others who served their country.

This Saturday, May 24, the local American Legion post will set up a table in front of Wal-Mart Supercenter to give away American flags for people to use to mark the graves of Hopkins County veterans. The legion's members will begin giving away the flags at 8 a.m. and continue until their supply is exhausted.

"We have 720 to give away," Myrick said. "If we run out of flags, we'll run into a store and buy some more."

He said five veterans -- Larry Owen, Bill Dierks, Robert Dale, Dr. Al Glaess and himself -- together donated more than $500 to buy the all-weather flags, which are 8 inches by 12 inches in size.

"We're just trying to do a service for the community," Myrick said.

The American Legion Post's members have tried to find ways in the past to honor deceased veterans, such as the usual flag-raising ceremonies. They have also purchased and installed new flags at cemeteries where local veterans are buried, but that seemed a bit impersonal, he said.

If they could have, Myrick said, the legion's members would like to have been able to put flags on the graves of all Hopkins County veterans, but the logisitical requirements were just too much.

"We tried to do some research and find out where the veterans are buried in this county, but it's almost impossible," he explained. "Did you know there are more than 90 cemeteries here in Hopkins County?

"We decided this would be the most efficient way, because we can't put flags on all of the graves ourselves."

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