Breckenridge Texan

Local man needs help placing flags on veterans’ graves this Saturday

Local man needs help placing flags on veterans’ graves this Saturday
May 20
15:03 2020

In the past, Jim Merson of Breckenridge has worked with several local organizations to place American flags on the graves of U.S. military veterans in the Breckenridge Cemetery. However, this year, due to the COVID-19 threat, he is following the Veterans Administration’s lead and not asking the Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts to participate in the activity.

Recently, the VA and the National Cemetery Association, which operates 142 national cemeteries, has chosen to not host public events for Memorial Day, including the mass placement and retrieval of gravesite flags by groups at the national cemeteries, to help protect the health of the volunteers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the local veterans’ graves are not covered by that decision, Merson has decided to likewise not involve the youth groups.

“In the past I have worked with several groups to include the Texas Veterans Chapter, the FFA, the Girl Scouts, and the Boy/Cub Scouts. All of these organizations have gleefully pitched in to get the flags out, and their help is appreciated,” he wrote in an email.

Initially, Merson said, he talked to the local Boy Scout leader, who was going to talk to the Scouts’ parents. “I felt this was a good compromise until last Thursday when I read an article reporting the Veterans Administration has forbidden the Scout organizations from placing flags in federally owned  cemeteries, specifically because of the COVID-19 outbreak. With that news, I really felt it to be inappropriate to ask the Scouts to dress the city cemetery,” Merson said.

Still, Merson wants the veterans to be honored with a flag. So, this Saturday, May 23, he will be at the city cemetery with a truck load of flags at 8:30 in the morning. And, he’s hoping his fellow citizens will come out to help.

“I am asking the citizens of Breckenridge to donate between two and three hours of their Saturday and meet me there to place these flags on veteran’s markers,” Merson explained. “Tuesday, May 26, I will be back at the cemetery again, at 8:30 a.m., to pick up the flags. That is a work day, but I invite those who are not working to come out a lend a hand with this as well. For those who are curious, there are over 900 flags to be placed and picked up.”

To help Merson honor the local veterans on Memorial Day weekend, meet him at the Breckenridge Cemetery at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 23, to put out flags.


Cutline, top photo: A couple of graves in the Breckenridge Cemetery are adorned with flags, but on Saturday, May 23, Jim Merson of Breckenridge wants to place a flag on the grave of every veteran buried there. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

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