The Memorial Day ceremony traditionally held in Brunswick has been canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak.
That doesn’t mean the veterans who are traditionally honored each year for their service to the nation will be forgotten.
A group of men and women from the American Legion Post 9 visited three cemeteries Monday and placed American flags at the gravesite of every known man or woman who served in the military.
Post commander Benny Williams said he and other volunteers planned to place about 500 flags at Brunswick Memorial Garden and several hundred more at two other cemeteries in Brunswick.
Markers for World War I veterans, the oldest gravesites, often gave the veteran’s rank and where he served.
“There’s a lot of information on these things,” Williams said as he bent over to jab a flag in the ground near the grave to identify the site as the final resting place of a veteran.
After Williams planted each flag, he stepped back and crisply saluted the veteran.
The flags will be removed in two weeks, he said. The goal is to always remember the service and sacrifices made by veterans, he said.
“A few of my buddies are here,” he said. “A person lives as long as they are remembered.”
John Orr, an American Legion member helping Williams, said he is also replacing tattered flags already at some of the graves with fresh ones, in addition to the ones he puts next to a grave.
“We’re standing on their shoulders and we’re remembering them,” he said of the veterans he is honoring.
Williams said the Memorial Day ceremony will be held July 4th and at the new Veterans Park on Newcastle Street near downtown Brunswick.
When asked why flags are also placed at gravesites in November for Veterans Day, Williams provided a simple explanation.
“Memorial Day is for the veterans who have given their lives or died later on,” he said. “Veterans Day is for the living veterans. They’re both veterans. They protected the nation.”