Avenue of Flags marches on

Visalia committee seeks volunteers to help fly 2,300 flags at the Visalia Cemetery for Memorial Day

VISALIA – Nearly 2,300 American flags will fly at the Visalia Cemetery on Monday in honor of those who gave their life in service to their country. Each flag is marked with a deceased veteran’s name and branch of service.

The flags are placed along the cemetery’s main road by the Avenue of Flags Committee, primarily comprised of aging veterans who hope to recruit more volunteers to give a little bit of their time for those who gave all.

The committee invites volunteers to help lay the flag poles along the cemetery’s streets beginning at noon on Sunday, May 30 and then place the flags on the pools beginning at 6 a.m. on Monday, May 31. Volunteers are also needed to take down the flags at 4 p.m. that same day. To volunteer, call 850-380-3478. The roughly 4,000 smaller flags placed at the gravesites of veterans will not be done this year.

“In order to prevent the spread of the covid-19 virus, we regret that we cannot place American flags on the graves of veterans this year,” organizer Neal Schneider said in a post on the cemetery’s web site. “We will place them in 2022.”

The Avenue of Flags Committee made up of former service members from two American Legion Posts, AmVets, Central Valley Vietnam Veterans, Military Officers Association, Sea Cadets, a Kiwanis Club and two Lions Clubs.

The committee will hold a brief, socially distanced ceremony on Monday at 10 a.m. at the Pavilion. Seating under the Pavilion is severely limited, but the public may stand or sit near the pavilion.

The short program includes presentation of the colors by Naval Sea Cadets; stories of service about George Gonzalez and Manuel Holguin Jr.; songs by Yolly Liwanag Ibanez; laying of memorial wreaths; prayer; release of peace and remembrance doves; a rifle salute, and echo taps at the conclusion of the ceremony.

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