(CNS) — Volunteers were called on Monday to help place miniature American flags next to nearly 225,000 graves at Riverside National Cemetery next month as part of a Veterans Day tribute.
Brennan Leininger, of Garden Grove-based Remembering Our Fallen, said: “We are delighted to be back and raise a flag in memory of those buried in the cemetery.”
The flag parade is scheduled to begin around 8 am on November 8. 5 At the Cemetery Amphitheater, where volunteers need to retrieve bundles of flags, use these flags to canvass all 70 sections of the Holy Land to plant the Stars and Stripes.
The job is expected to last three to four hours.
Last year, the Veterans Administration initially denied “raising a flag for every hero,” citing ongoing crowd restrictions in the federal regulatory space to limit exposure to the coronavirus. However, due to the importance of the holiday, cemetery managers persuaded their bosses to compromise and make exceptions, Leininger said.
The Memorial Day flag parade in May went as planned.
The walk was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 public health lockdown.
“It is truly an honor that we should all be proud of to pay tribute to those buried at Riverside National Cemetery,” Leininger said.
He said it was an all-volunteer effort that required hundreds of people to complete the task.
The flag retrieval is scheduled for Saturday morning, November 11. 12.
First organized in 2012, these walks typically involve a variety of organizations, including Boy Scouts, police expeditions, civil aviation patrol cadets, and even union workers and their relatives.
In the beginning, volunteers could only reach 21,000 cemeteries. In 2014, organizers obtained enough flags and recruited enough numbers to plant the Stars and Stripes next to the final resting place of nearly every individual buried in the cemetery.
Since then, the number of volunteers has increased significantly, according to Leininger.
The honorably retired U.S. Air Force soldier and Anaheim police officer visited the cemetery in 2011 and was dismayed at how few flags flew, prompting him to begin placement with the help of the nonprofit Honoring Our Fallen.
Ultimately, Leininger’s team worked with Riverside resident Mary Ellen Gruendyke to ensure all graves received a flag. Gruendyke contributed money and time to this work well before 2012.
The 1,000-acre National Cemetery is the third largest in the nation.
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