DEAR SUN SPOTS: As you may remember from previous years, the city of Lewiston recruits volunteers to place nearly 7,000 flags at veterans’ gravestones in cemeteries around the city. Every year we ask for assistance with this big community project. If you belong to any groups (scouts, church groups, community service groups, business groups, etc.) please feel free to pass along this information to help spread the word. We would also appreciate it if you would share this information via social media.

In 2001, the state passed a law that requires municipalities to purchase and place individual American flags at the gravestone of every veteran buried in each cemetery located in that town. These flags must be in place for Memorial Day each year. Lewiston has thirteen cemeteries and the flag placement is completed by community volunteers. For many of the smaller cemeteries, abutting neighbors usually place the flags for us. For larger cemeteries (Mt. Hope, Riverside and St. Peter’s) there are service organizations that have adopted these cemeteries and have taken care of placing the flags for us.

We are looking for volunteers for the following locations and times:

• Mt. Hope Cemetery at 81 Mt. Hope Avenue on Saturday, May 19 at 1 p.m. (Marcus Talarico and the Liberty Festival Board of Directors are the coordinators.) There are approximately 1,200 flags to be placed.

• St. Peter’s Cemetery on Switzerland Road on Sunday, May 20 (rain or shine) at 10 a.m. Please meet at the mausoleum at the cemetery. (Jerry Dewitt is the contact person and the L/A Veterans Council are the coordinators.) There are approximately 3,700 flags to be placed.

• Riverside Cemetery at 192 Summer St. on Saturday, May 26 at 9 a.m. (Ivan Boudreau is the contact person and the Knights of Columbus are the coordinators.) There are approximately 1,600 flags to be placed.

Teams of five to ten volunteers will be assigned to an area of the cemetery and cover it in a grid fashion in order to not miss any gravesites. There is no master list of veterans buried at the cemetery so volunteers will walk each row and read the inscription on each stone. If military service is listed on the stone, a flag will be placed there. This is a fairly time-consuming process so many volunteers are appreciated.

Please be prepared by wearing comfortable, waterproof footwear in case of wet grass. Bring a screwdriver to poke holes in the ground, making it easier to place the flag’s wooden dowel. Bring drinking water, work gloves, bug spray (there may be ticks), a hat and sunscreen. Wearing company or organization T-shirts is welcomed and encouraged.

If you know of any groups who can help out, such as church or youth groups and other service groups, please pass the word along to anyone who might be interested. Feel free to post this request for volunteers on your group’s Facebook pages, e-mail distribution lists and websites.

Jerry Dewitt, on behalf of the L/A Veterans Council, expresses appreciation to all volunteers for their efforts: “Thank you for your support of veterans without families to remember their service on this Memorial Day.”

If you have any general questions about the process, please let me know. My contact information is 207-513-3124 and [email protected]

—Kathy, City Clerk, Lewiston

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to [email protected]

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