REMEMBER THE FALLEN: Vicksburg National Cemetery hosts Memorial Day flag-placing event

Published 3:27 pm Friday, May 27, 2022

Nearly 200 volunteers converged on the Vicksburg National Cemetery Friday morning to honor fallen troops by placing American flags at grave markers.

Located within the Vicksburg National Military Park, the Vicksburg National Cemetery is the final resting place for over 18,000 U.S. Veterans — 17,000 of those being Union Civil War soldiers — a number unmatched by any other National Cemetery. Every year on the Friday before Memorial Day, a United States flag is placed at each individual grave in remembrance of the sacrifice so many have made for their country.

This year’s volunteer group included the staff of Bowmar Elementary School, who decided to use their last workday of the summer to attend the event. Principal Jason Bennett said he and the teachers were eager to volunteer, as the event had become a tradition before the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“We’ve done it in the past, and in the planning of the last couple of days, the teachers asked if we were going to do it again,” Bennett said. “So, with their prodding, I said, ‘Sure.’ We have about 40 people out here, including some of our kids.”

In addition to the Bowmar Bears, volunteers of all ages carried bundles of flags up and down the cemetery’s rolling hills, including Warren County Supervisors Kelle Barfield and Edward Herring.

United States Marine Joseph Quimby took his volunteer responsibility seriously, as he carried flags in his arms and in a rucksack on his back. Quimby and his wife, Holly, were joined by their children, ages 11 and 4.

Bess Averett, Director of Friends of the Vicksburg National Military Park and Campaign, said the event has become a beloved opportunity in the Vicksburg area. Unlike the headstone cleaning event, which attracts volunteers from across the country, the Memorial Day flag-placing event is more local.

“We love this event and we love that this community embraces it,” Averett said. “So, in the kickoff to Memorial Day Weekend, it’s great that people can set aside this time and come out and volunteer and put flags at these important graves.”

Memorial Day events at the Vicksburg National Military Park will continue throughout the weekend. To view a complete list of events at the VNMP, click here.