Feature Story

Paying tribute one flag at a time

Flags are rolled up 25 at a time and placed on the tops of headstones

Boeing

Flags are rolled up 25 at a time and placed on the tops of headstones for cemetery grounds keepers to pick up and save for next year.

A hot, humid Tuesday morning didn’t deter volunteers at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis.

Every Memorial Day, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts place American flags on approximately 189,000 graves at the cemetery to honor the men and women who have lost their lives serving their country.

What started with 35 volunteers five years ago, the annual Boeing-sponsored effort now brings together hundreds of volunteers from the St. Louis community including Scott Air Force Base, Ill., and Boeing to remove the flags.

For one Boeing employee, vacation time took a back seat to picking up the flags on a muggy day.

“These people sacrificed everything,” said Marisha Robinson, an eight-year Boeing employee who works in Accounting. “I felt it was my duty to take part in this effort as a way of saying thanks.”

Volunteers spent about two hours retrieving and bundling the flags so they can be used again.

Watch the video to hear the personal reasons why people volunteer to pick up the Memorial Day flags.