Friday, 18 May 2018 05:06

Memorial Day Flag Project

Written by
Rate this item
(1 Vote)
Memorial Day Flag Project 2017 Memorial Day Flag Project 2017 Photo courtesy of Rockingham VFW Post 4203

ROCKINGHAM - Memorial Day is a very special time for America as we remember those who died while serving in the country’s military.

It is observed on the last Monday of May which this year will be on Monday, May 28th. 

Some confuse Memorial Day with Veterans' Day. The difference is that on Veterans' Day we celebrate all the U.S. military veterans who have served; on Memorial Day we remember those who lost their lives while serving.

The placing of American flags on grave sites of those who have served is one way that the country shows remembrance. Some believe this tradition began before the American Civil War, and it is said that the first grave ever to be decorated was in Warrenton, Virginia on June 3, 1861. In 1862, Savannah, Georgia followed in a dedication at Confederate soldiers’ graves; in 1863, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania held a ceremony of commemoration at soldiers’ graves; and on July 4, 1864 in Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, some have said there were ladies who decorated soldiers’ graves.  It is this last occasion which has been known as the birthplace of Memorial Day in which at that time was called “Decoration Day.” 

Associations such as the Ladies Memorial Association and the United Daughters of the Confederacy were established and played a major role in preserving the memory of all who lost their lives while serving. Each year more states stepped in and began participating in this event. The holiday gradually changed names from Decoration Day to Memorial Day in 1882 but did not become the popular name used until after World War II. Memorial Day was declared official in 1967. 

Richmond County will remember all those who lost their lives while serving by the placing of flags on grave sites. Jimmy Brigman began the placing of flags well over 30 years ago but has since passed away. Ed O’Neal, an American Veteran (AMVET) and decorated veteran - which includes a purple heart - has continued the event. As he stated, “I want to give back to those who have served and gave their lives. It is an honor to help.”

For over 10 years while Ed O’Neal worked out of town, Brigman would call him to help with donations in the placing of flags as well as helping when he was able to visit. This will be the second year he carries the torch in the manner that  Brigman began by heading the flag fund.

“If everyone does a little, then no one does too much” said O’Neal. “Memorial Day has always been special to me, as I was wounded while serving overseas on Memorial Day weekend. I also quit smoking in 1987 on Memorial Day weekend, as well as retiring from the service on Memorial Day weekend.” 

With over 300 cemeteries in Richmond County, there will be many opportunities to help place flags on the grave sites. Some cemeteries are adopted by individuals or organizations that place flags each year. The AMVETS help support the program by donating funds as well as volunteering. The VFW and American Legion are also supporters.

All flags are placed on grave sites the week before Memorial Day by volunteers.

If you are interested in donating or volunteering, you may contact Ed O’Neal at 910-995-1366.



Last modified on Friday, 18 May 2018 06:49