Fort Mitchell National Cemetery holds Memorial Day event

Fort Mitchell National Cemetery holds Memorial Day event
(Source: AP Graphics)

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Memorial Day is today and people all over the country are remembering those who have lost their lives while serving this country.

Dozens of volunteers gathered to prepare Fort Mitchell's National Cemetery for their Memorial Day Program.

Men and women buried at Fort Mitchell National Cemetery were honored by volunteers who placed a miniature U.S. flag and poppy in front of their grave site. Officials say this the weather was perfect for this event.

"We put in approximately 120 hours of prep time of the flag event and the Memorial Day service," said Anthony Clay, Director of Fort Mitchell National Cemetery.

Clay says this annual flag event still holds a special meaning year after year.

"I'm a retired Air Force and I still have a sense of patriotism burning in me and that I'm in the business of taking care of veterans in retirement and their families. The solitude, once everything is placed at their grave sites and the families have left. It's a time for me to reflect on each story out here," said Clay

Over 120 volunteers, including members of the VFW Post 5228 of Smiths Station uses this day as reflection.

"I was part of third third Infantry Division and there are some third Infantry Division ID fallen soldiers here. I was down range with them so I'm here to represent them and honor them," said VFW members.

VFW members say they're responsible for placing the poppies, which is a symbol of remembrance of soldiers who have died during war times.

"We used this for our fellow veterans, people that have gave the ultimate sacrifice they went before us. So for me this is a sad time and I used this week to celebrate them," added VFW members.

The day was not all about placing flags, cemetery officials were able to spend time with volunteers and those who visited the grave sties of loved ones.

"Shaking their hands and looking them in the eyes, saying thank you and listening to their stories and why they come out and do this. It's very rewarding," Clay said.

Over 9,500 graves were graced with flags and poppies. Fort Mitchell's Memorial Day Program begins at 10 a.m. at the flag pole area. The keynote speaker and participants will be SGM (Ret) Charles Waugh, Sr. Vice Commander, Department of Alabama DAV.

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