Letter to the Editor

Avenue of Flags

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

I hope you had a chance to drive by Riverside Cemetery in Spencer on Memorial Day. Over 1,200 flags waving in the breeze with another 200-plus at North Lawn Cemetery is certainly a sight to bring a lump to the throat! The Avenue of Flags was the vision of Frank Thomas and Jerry Dean in 1963 and it became a reality in1964 with approximately 90 flags in the first display, and it has now grown to approximately 1,450 flags, each representing a U.S. veteran who has passed away.

It seems incredible, but because of Dean’s family who still are the heart and soul of the Avenue of Flags, and because of a fantastic number of volunteers those flags flew in all their glory on Memorial Day. As incredible as it seems, almost 1250 flag pole holders were found, cleaned out, and marked in just a shade over two hours on Thursday night! Then on Monday morning, the volunteers from all over the community showed up at Riverside at 7 a.m. and all the flags were in full display before 8 a.m. —one hour for all those flags. Then, a few minutes before 7 p.m. Monday a small army of volunteers showed up to roll the flags and place them back on the specially designed trailers, and the job was completed a few minutes after 8! Brings to life the expression “Many hands make light work!”

Although I am not on the committee I would like to say thank you to all the volunteers, young and old, who showed up for one, two, or even all three of these events, all to show our respect and admiration for these fallen men and women, veterans all! And special thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Rick Dean and their family and extended family who donate countless hours making this Avenue of Flags the best anywhere! And I would encourage all of you to think about joining us next year for some work and a lot of good fellowship, and to honor our fallen heroes!

— Tom Howe, Spencer