Volunteers needed in Lewiston to place 7,000 flags on veterans' graves

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LEWISTON — The city needs volunteers over the next two weekends to place American flags on every veteran’s grave.

Help is being solicited for the city’s three largest cemeteries — Mt. Hope, St. Peter’s and Riverside.

Teams of five to 10 volunteers will be assigned an area to cover the cemetery in a grid fashion to avoid missing any gravestone.

Because there is no master list of veterans buried at the cemeteries, volunteers need to walk each row of stones and read the inscription on each grave site. If military service is listed on the stone, a flag will be placed there.

There are about 7,000 veterans buried in Lewiston.

State law requires municipalities to buy and place individual American flags at the gravestone of every veteran buried in each cemetery in that community by Memorial Day.

Lewiston has 13 cemeteries. Abutting neighbors generally take care of the flags at the smaller cemeteries.

Organizations such as the Scouts, church groups, community service groups, business groups are welcome to volunteer. Children should have plenty of adult supervision.

The following cemeteries have the greatest need for volunteers to place American flags on veterans’ graves:

• Mt. Hope Cemetery, 81 Mt. Hope Ave. Meet at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 19. Marcus Talarico and the Liberty Festival board of directors are coordinators for placing 1,200 flags.

•  St. Peter’s Cemetery, Switzerland Road. Meet at the mausoleum at 10 a.m. Sunday, May 20. Jerry Dewitt is the contact person for that day and the L&A Veterans Council are the coordinators for placing 3,700 flags.

• Riverside Cemetery, 192 Summer St. Meet at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 26. Ivan Boudreau is the contact person and the Knights of Columbus are the coordinators for placing 1,600 flags.

Volunteers should wear sneakers or boots in case the grass is wet, and bring a screwdriver to poke a hole in the grass for the wooden dowel of the flag.

James Dean and Will Bredenberg, a U.S. Navy veteran, place American flags on veterans’ graves at St. Peter’s Cemetery in Lewiston in 2017. (Sun Journal file photo)

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