RIVERSIDE – With less than two weeks to go, a veterans advocacy group is seeking volunteers to help with a Memorial Day weekend mission to plant miniature American flags alongside the graves of servicemen and women buried at Riverside National Cemetery as part of an annual tribute that has grown in size every year.
On Saturday, May 24, Cypress-based Honoring Our Fallen will hold its third annual ”Flag for Every Hero” ceremony, during which families, Boy Scouts, Explorer troops and anyone else who wants to participate walk the cemetery grounds, placing flags adjacent to plots.
When the flag walks began on Memorial Day weekend 2012, volunteers were able to reach only 21,000 of the more than 200,000 grave sites. This year, for the first time, organizers said they expect to have enough flags to plant alongside the final resting places of all the men and women interred at the cemetery.
Last year, at the urging of Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone, the Board of Supervisors set aside $25,000 in community improvement designation funds to help purchase flags, which cost around 60 cents apiece.
Anaheim police Officer Brennan Leininger, a former U.S. Air Force serviceman, brought attention to the fact that most of the plots had no flags when he visited the cemetery on holidays in 2011.
The 900-acre property is the fourth-largest national cemetery in the country.
The flag walk will begin at 8 a.m. and take about three hours to complete, organizers said.
More information about the walks, how to volunteer and where to make donations is available at www.honoringourfallen.org .