Volunteers are needed to help place miniature American flags alongside the graves of servicemen and women buried at Riverside National Cemetery as part of a Veterans Day weekend tribute, a nonprofit group announced Friday.
Cypress-based Honoring Our Fallen has conducted flag-placing events at the cemetery since 2012, relying on the support of people of all ages, who donate their time to fix the flags adjacent to the 200,000-plus graves at the site.
“Veterans Day is quickly approaching, and I’m looking forward to having folks join us to place flags,” said event organizer Brennan Leininger.
Last year, several hundred people showed up to help, but Leininger isn’t certain how many might make it this year.
Anyone interested in participating is asked to contact him via email at email@example.com, or simply be there at staging time — 8 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9.
The flag walks typically take two to three hours and cover almost every segment of the hallowed grounds, which comprise 900 acres and lie just west of the March Air Reserve Base, on the south end of Riverside. The property is the fourth-largest national cemetery in the country.
In the past, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, police Explorers, fire department Explorers, ROTC squads, families and relatives of those buried at the cemetery have joined the effort.
Leininger, an Anaheim police officer who served in the U.S. Air Force, was inspired to organize the flag walks after a visit to the cemetery on Veterans Day 2011, when he noticed that most of the grave sites had no flags.
When the walks started on Memorial Day weekend 2012, volunteers were able to reach only 21,000 plots. But thanks to private and public contributions, enough flags were eventually purchased to mark the final resting places of all the men and women interred at the cemetery.
Riverside resident Mary Ellen Gruendyke, whose husband is buried there, initiated a flag-placing campaign years earlier and had been able to reach thousands of plots, but never anywhere close to all of them. Honoring Our Fallen and Gruendyke combined efforts in 2014.
More information about the walks, how to volunteer and where to make donations is available at www.honoringourfallen.org .
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