Memorial Day Flagging

You may know that I sit on my local historic cemetery commission.  One of the accompanying responsibilities is to flag the headstones of the veterans within the cemeteries.  It’s an honor really.

It’s a wonderful feeling to visit these resting places and provide them with new flags.

Helping this:

DSCF0329

to become:

Cemetery 35 Asa B Henry

May everyone have a good Memorial Day no matter how you spend your day.

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5 Responses to Memorial Day Flagging

  1. Thank you for posting the photographs; before and after views of the old flag and new replacement flag.

    Do you think that you may be able to plant grass at the cemetery where the photographs were taken? Do Veterans’ groups place flags in your area? That is normally who goes and places the flags at local cemeteries. Also, sometimes groups like the Boy Scouts or the Eagle Scouts place the flags.

    It is good there is a local cemetery commission where you are. So many cities and townships do not have groups that are dedicated to the care and improvement of cemeteries and gravesites as you know.

    • Hi Linda, thanks for stopping by.

      My local cemetery commission (7 members) is responsible for 163 Historic Cemeteries. Of those, not even 15 are active cemeteries. Most of active ones are associated with a church. Our largest cemetery was flagged by the Sons of Union Veterans and two of the other larger ones were also flagged by Veterans’ groups. The scouts are not active in flagging in this city, but they do help with occasional cleanups as do school groups. In the next town over, the scouts do do some of the flagging.

      By and large, the remainder of the cemeteries (really graveyards given the age and size), are located in backyards and sideyards of neighborhood homes or off in the woods. Many who have cemeteries in their yards or in the lot next to them help care for them, either with flagging or cleaning up or even just knowing who to call if they see something change that shouldn’t change. We have a great group of volunteers in addition to those who sit on the commission (also a volunteer position) who divide the rest of the cemeteries to flag and check on periodically to note their conditions. I had 4 cemeteries to flag, but only 9 stones to flag among those 4. Oh, there are also a couple of adopted cemeteries in addition to that.

      With regards to this particular cemetery, (it was my first time at this one) it’s in a wooded area where grass just wouldn’t be able to grow (and grass would bring about an additional set of maintenance issues anyway). I do think there should be some sort of no-maintenance ground cover to keep the dirt where it should be, and it’s actually something I’ll be bringing up at our meeting next week (among a few other observations I had at this one and the others I visited), so we’ll see what happens. 🙂

      • Thank you for posting all of the details. 163 cemeteries is certainly an impressive number. I know I am not able to imagine all of the duties and issues your commission addresses with them on a regular basis.

        You are right about the grass not growing in an area that is heavily wooded as this one is.

        And, you are correct that not having the support of grass around the stones makes them more vulnerable for leaning and sinking. I’m sure you are doing all that is possible to document them with tombstone transcriptions and photographs as you have here.

        It is an ongoing and daunting task to keep any cemetery presentable and the gravestones in it intact. You and your commission are to commended for your continued care for your area’s older burying grounds. Thank you again for sharing the photographs!!

      • I’m sorry the last reply was so long, but I’m sure you get the complicated structure of the whole system through just its length. The 163 for one city alone, too. The town next over has a good 90-something (size wise quite a bit smaller). I’m sure as years go on, more will be found too, just two years ago one was discovered when the owner of a house with a slab foundation decided to create a basement. A skeleton was discovered and after the investigation…to make sure it was not recent…and that became #162. #163 was created through a special proclamation for a man who was the region’s appointed historian and a good friend of many history-related commissions (cemeteries, historic districts, etc.). I wonder when we’ll find #164.

        You are so very right that the tasks to keep a cemetery presentable and intact is both ongoing and daunting. Fortunately, as you’ve pointed out, more and more groups are springing up to help them, like the Floral Hills Memory Garden group that you shared. Granted, there are so many cemeteries, but hopefully we’ll continue to see them being saved. Thank you for all of the work you do to help them as well!

      • ljellis2000 says:

        Thank you for your kind words. My role is quite small really. I think of myself as more of a ‘messenger’ and researcher than about anything else. I’ve cleaned a few stones in my day, removed weeds and overgrowth around them; and have done my share of contacting township trustees, etc. but it is the local people and organizations that do the ‘heavy lifting’ for the hands-on work, attending township meetings, making their concerns heard on a regular basis to those responsible for their local cemeteries that deserve so much more credit. I think it can only help, not hurt to create and perpetuate awareness which can lead to action by those who care. Thank you for all you and your historic cemetery commission are doing that I’m sure has inspired others to join you in your ongoing efforts that have made a positive visible difference advancing the successful preservation of history and dignity of your region’s cemeteries.

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