National Cemetery flag effort grows even larger and looks for more volunteer help.
For many years, Bob Fussner and his wife Diane have made a trip out to the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery on Memorial Day with bags of American flags. Headstones at the cemetery were not decorated with any flags for the holiday so the couple would select graves of veterans from each war and plant a tiny flag. But it never set well with Fussner that he couldn’t place an American flag at every grave.
So last year Bob and Diane decided they needed to act and get enough flags for every single veteran buried. The project turned out a success as Fussner and a group of volunteers placed 26,000 tiny American flags at every gravesite of a veteran. However, this year Fussner estimates he’ll need around 35,000 flags so he is organizing his effort even early and asking for even more volunteers and support.
He calls his non-profit National Cemetery project Flags for Fallen Vets and has since expanded to the national cemetery in Houston, Texas. Fussner also hopes to get more young people involved. He discovered last year that many people did not know about the Dallas-Fort Worth cemetery and assumed the Department of Foreign Affairs already planted flags at the gravesites each year for the holiday. Of the 136 national cemeteries in this country, only 14 did not get decorated with U.S. flags on Memorial Day, including those in Dallas and Houston.
Officials at the Dallas-Fort Worth cemetery welcomed the idea enthusiastically and were very impressed by the efficiency of both setting up and taking down the flags by the volunteers. Families of those veterans buried were also very grateful of Fussner’s effort and many of them showed up to help. In total, about 1,000 volunteers showed up last Memorial Day to help show respect to the fallen vets.
The project uses 8-by-12 inch American flags with little gold spears on 24-ince wooden posts. The group has some extra flags saved from last year but around 8,000 must be replaced due to weather damage. Fussner is already planning on contacting the media to help spread the word of his flag effort and round up even more helpers than last year.