GREENFIELD – The grounds along the road leading to the park cemetery are once again covered in hundreds of American flags.
They have been rising every May for decades for Avenue of Flags, where they will remain for the next two weeks.
Purchased by their loved ones, each flag depicts a deceased American veteran from Hancock County. Dog tags on flagpoles display veterans’ names and branches of service, and a kiosk on the grounds directs visitors to specific flags.
Bob Workman, a US Marine Corps Vietnam War veteran, Hancock County Veterans Services officer and member of the Greenfield Veterans Honor Guard, said there were 864 flags This year.
Volunteers from local veterans‘ organizations and the Greenfield Street Department raised the flags on Friday.
“It’s an honor to be able to do this for veterans who have passed away and their families,” Workman said.
The flags will remain until Memorial Day on Monday, May 30, when at 11 a.m. the American Legion will hold a ceremony that will include an address by Greenfield Mayor Chuck Fewell, a prayer, a bugler playing “Taps” and a salute to the gun.
“This city is really impressive to me, what they will do for veterans,” Workman said.
When Avenue of Flags needed an overhaul in the past, it took two weeks to raise the $15,000 needed to do it, he recalls.
“They are very patriotic people,” he said. “It’s just an honor to be a part of it.”
The popularity of Avenue of Flags has organizers thinking about its inevitable expansion. Workman said there are currently enough empty slots in the ground for another 136 flags and estimates there is room for another 700 after that.
Flags are $50, and order forms are available at the Hancock County Cemetery and Veterans Services Office, located in the Hancock County Memorial Building at 98 E. North St. in Greenfield.
If damaged, the flags are replaced at the honor guard‘s expense.