May 26, 2018 08:49 PM
In a moving tribute, thousands of flags have been placed at Fort Snelling National Cemetery. For the first time in 35 years, a flag waives at every single grave.
Each one was placed with care, a small symbol of respect and appreciation.
“The thankfulness we all feel for the sacrifices they went through for us,” said Louise Angrimson, a volunteer.
Her husband served in the Marine Corps for more than 20 years. Her father is also a veteran.
She volunteered with Mary Ellen Clasemenn, whose father also served.
“It’s an honor to do it,” Clasemenn said.
They had a special assignment as flag runners.
“Placing flags for families who can't be here who would like to see their loved ones flagged,” Angrimson said
They took pictures of the flags being placed and again afterward. They will send the pictures to each hero’s family.
“It’s a way to give back to those who gave so much for us,” Clasemenn said.
About 8,000 volunteers helped with the project.
They walked through each section of the cemetery, making sure no one was forgotten.
“It’s quite an honor,” Don Halderson said.
Halderson carried memories of World War II with him. He served in Italy from 1943 to 1945, when the war ended.
He told us it’s moving to see so many people honor those who served.
“It’s powerful so many people are making this a priority and they care and they want to be part of it,” said Calinn Green, a key part of the Flags for Fort Snelling team.
Green served four years in the Air Force, including two deployments to Afghanistan. Her husband has been in the military for 16 years.
“As a veteran, it's really inspiring to know we matter here in Minnesota,” she said. “People really do care even after we're not breathing anymore and we're in the dirt, complete stranger still care about us.”
According to Green, the project started four years ago by another local mother, Joanne Malmstedt.
She said Malmstedt bought flags and placed them with friends and family after finding out the cemetery no longer had a program.
Flags for Fort Snelling became a non-profit three years ago, they placed 10,000 flags in 2016. This weekend they will place about 200,000 flags.
Green said it’s a powerful sign of respect to the fallen.
“We owe them and we're very appreciative of what they did,” she said. “The message we're sending to the families is that we'll never forget this, we'll never forget them or what they've done.”
The flags will remain at each headstone until Thursday when they will be removed. The flags will be stored until next year.
Updated: May 26, 2018 08:49 PM
Created: May 26, 2018 12:28 PM
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