West Bend WI – West Bend American Legion Post 36 will be observing Armed Forces Day on Saturday, May 16 by placing over 5,000 American flags on graves in more than 100 cemeteries through out Washington County.
For those willing to help, Terry Vrana will greet you at Washington County Memorial Park on 18th and Paradise, and Chris Schatz at Holy Angels Cemetery at Main Street and Decorah Road. The event begins at 9 a.m.
“Placing U.S. flags at our area cemeteries helps remember our deceased veterans as part of this years Memorial Day events,” said Schatz.
The first Armed Forces Day was observed May 20, 1950. It was declared a National Holiday on March 18, 1961.
“This is the appropriate day for this project where we honor those who serve,” said American Legion Post Commander Jay Anderson. “We would like to thank those who helped in the past. We couldn’t have done it without you.”
On the same day, Flag Commander Max Sommerfeld will be downtown installing flags on city light poles.
“We plan to start early to avoid interfering with traffic,” said Sommerfeld.
In years past, each cemetery would take an hour or two to complete, depending on the number of volunteers. This year, given the COVID-19 pandemic, we are unsure how many folks we will have show up, but the cemeteries will be completed regardless, rain or shine.
We will have all of the supplies needed on Saturday (except for hand sanitizer/PPE, if you would like to bring some for your personal use, please feel free to do so), so I was hoping to get an idea of who would be available at each location to help out!
We will be able to adequately social distance (they are large cemeteries after all) so if you would like to bring family members or others along as volunteers, please feel free. Many hands make light work as they say. I bring my kids each year and it’s a great learning and civic experience for them.
Anyone finding or noticing a damaged flag should contact Sommerfeld at 334-4270.
Thank you again for offering to help! We greatly appreciate it.
Photo courtesy Ron Naab