We’ve wanted to visit the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery for some time. But it’s on the south side of the metro – close to an hour away when traffic is light – so you have to really really want to go.
That’s a pathetic reason for not visiting a national cemetery. I realize that. Still, it’s the truth.
Unless you are in Washington, D.C., or have a relative being interred, or live nearby, it’s tough to make a trip to a national cemetery without a good reason.
Here’s the good reason we found ourselves at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery yesterday: Placing flags on graves.
Organized by a non-profit, Flags for Fallen Vets, volunteers sign up (months in advance) to place flags on every grave within the cemetery. We signed up last year, but the entire event was cancelled because of rain and floods.
This year was different, although the skies were threatening and we had to wait out a few morning showers.
Each flag was placed in the center of the headstone, about 12 inches out. Our hammers were a good gauge of distance. A simple push into the ground with a screwdriver was all it took to prep a path for placing the flag.
I couldn’t help but think about the men in my family who served, as well as the many friends we’ve had over the years in the armed services. It was a time to say thank you and goodbye again to our grandpas, great uncles, good friends (like Zane) and Kyle, a boy I watched on occasion who died in Iraq.
We each did about 50 flags, working with our group in Section 13 of the cemetery. It took about 30 minutes altogether.
It’s a strange and wonderful activity for your wedding anniversary. But while we got married on Memorial Day weekend, which makes it a memorable time for us, we know the holiday isn’t about us at all.
It’s about our service men and women who gave all for the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.