LA GRANDE – This weekend as we honor those who have lost their lives this Memorial Day, we invite you to take a moment to stop by the Grandview, Hillcrest or Hillcrest East Cemeteries in La Grande.
Last night members of the American Legion and La Grande Lions took time to set up and display flags around the cemeteries in honor of those who have passed.
John Craig (JC) with American Legion spoke with Elkhorn Media Group (EMG) about this annual tradition.
EMG- John can you tell me about this project and tell me about the Avenue of Flags at Grand View Cemetery?
JC- The Avenue of Flags is burial flags that have been donated by families of veterans for us to fly. We have been doing this for 37 years. The flags will go up at 6:00 am on Saturday and the circle will be lit up at night and people are more than welcome to come and view it and drive through the cemetery.
EMG- And what about the small flags that are displayed around the cemeteries?
JC- The La Grande VFW had been doing this for a number of years, but with the age of members and members passing away, they ran out of able bodies, so we agreed to take it over. The Lions Club, through Brent Lewis, were looking for community service projects and volunteered, so it has been a good connection.
EMG- So you all went up yesterday and set the little flags out on the grave markers at Grandview Cemetery, are there other locations where flags are placed?
JC- All three cemeteries, Grandview, Hillcrest, and Hillcrest East, will have flags. The Sons of the American Legion do Hillcrest, and then Jan and Gary Koegler do Hillcrest East.
EMG- Why do you feel it is important to continue with this tradition?
JC- I think it’s important that we always remember the ones that passed preserving our freedom and the ones that survived and have lived a full life and passed.
Keep in mind that Memorial Day is not about the living veterans, it is about the ones that have passed. Veterans Day, November 11 is for living veterans and then Armed Forces Day is for those that are on active duty. These are three separate holidays.
EMG- If there are people interested in more information on the American Legion or those who may have an interest in volunteering for things like this, who can they contact?
JC- They can contact the American Legion, we are open from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm Monday thru Saturday or they can call 541-963-5141
EMG- Anything else you wanted to mention today?
JC- Yes, I would like to mention that the La Grande High School Football team has helped us out so much, they help put the rebar stands in for the flags and have done so for several years. So I would like to give a shout-out to Matt Walcott and his group for that.
EMG- Thank you John for continuing with this wonderful tradition.
A Memorial Day Service will be held at Grandview Cemetery on May 29, 2023, at 11:00 am.