Breckenridge Texan

Volunteers needed to help place flags on veterans’ graves on Saturday, May 28

Volunteers needed to help place flags on veterans’ graves on Saturday, May 28
May 22
21:12 2022

Every Memorial Day weekend for the past 10 years or so, Jim Merson of Breckenridge has been going to the Breckenridge Cemetery to place American flags on the graves of the veterans buried there. And, as this year’s holiday nears, he’s once again asking for volunteers to help with the honor project.

He will be at the cemetery (1301 E. Elliott St.) at 8 a.m. Saturday, May 28, with a pickup full of flags. Typically, the volunteers start at the north end next to the front gate and work their way south, Merson said. He shows anyone who is unfamiliar with the process how to spot a veterans foot marker and the how to place the flags. If necessary, he often brings some tools for drilling holes in the ground for the flags’ sticks.

Depending on how many volunteers show up, the project should take about an hour and a half, he said. There are about 900 veterans buried in the cemetery.

Throughout the years, various groups, including local Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts, have assisted Merson. But, in the past two years, COVID-19 restrictions led him to working with individuals who just show up to help, some coming from out of town to honor those who served in the military.

Although Merson has organized the project himself in the past, he’s looking for a civic organization or other group to take over the flag placement as a community service project for Memorial Day. This year, he almost had to cancel the project because he needed to be in Fort Worth that day, but his schedule worked out so that he can be here on Saturday.

“I feel this is too important for a single individual to manage, and it deserves the strength and weight of an organization to back it up,” the retired U.S. Navy veteran said. “If there is an organization interested, I would encourage them to send representatives this year to see how easy this project really is.”

The project includes putting the flags out on the Saturday before Memorial Day and then picking them back up on the Tuesday after the holiday. Every two to three years, he orders a gross of flags from a Texas company to replace the flags that are looking a little worn.

In addition to honoring the veterans, the project offers some interesting history, Merson said. One time, he found a marker for someone who participated in Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders’ charge up San Juan Hill.

To help Merson honor the local veterans on Memorial Day weekend, meet him at the Breckenridge Cemetery at 8 a.m. on Saturday, May 28, to put out flags.

 

Cutline, top photo: Karen Chakerian of Breckenridge looks for veterans’ graves in the Breckenridge Ceremony last May. She and other volunteers joined Jim Merson in the project to honor the veterans for Memorial Day. He is looking for assistance again this year. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

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