Savannah Golob, 8, plants a flag on a gravesite at Mount Hope Cemetery in Lewiston on Saturday. Her mother, Beckie, and brother Simon, 5, watch her from the background. Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn

LEWISTON — When Sue Tymoczko, a retired Edward Little High School teacher, saw a post online asking for volunteers to place flags at the gravestone of every veteran buried at Mount Hope Cemetery, it was an easy yes.

“I’ve participated in Wreaths Across America in Augusta, but I’ve never placed flags at our local cemeteries,” Tymoczko said Saturday, clutching a handful of flags. “My father, uncle and husband are buried here at Mount Hope, so I’m familiar with this area. I thought it was a nice thing to do.”

Tymoczko was one of a dozen volunteers who spent the afternoon at the cemetery placing flags ahead of Memorial Day.

Marcus Talarico, administrator of Albert & Burpee Funeral Home, and the Liberty Festival board of directors have coordinated the event at Mount Hope Cemetery for the past several years.

Marcus Talarico searches for graves of veterans at Mount Hope Cemetery in Lewiston on Saturday. Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn

Maine passed a law in 2001 requiring municipalities to buy and place individual American flags at the gravestone of every veteran buried in each cemetery.

Lewiston has 13 cemeteries with nearly 7,500 flags that need to be placed, and while the city’s smaller cemeteries rely on abutting neighbors to place flags at veterans’ gravestones, the larger cemeteries — Mount Hope, Riverside and St. Peter’s — rely on service organizations to coordinate with volunteers to place the flags, City Clerk Kathy Montejo said.

The Knights of Columbus coordinated an event at 9 a.m. Saturday at Riverside Cemetery, where 1,600 flags were placed.

Talarico said he typically gets a great turnout at Mount Hope and that people “trickle in as the day goes on.”

James Ruby and his son Michael place flags on the graves of military veterans at Mount Hope Cemetery in Auburn in advance of Memorial Day. Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn

James Ruby of Auburn, a Desert Storm veteran who served in the Army Reserve’s 619th Transportation Company, said he has served with the Liberty Festival board of directors for the past 10 years and has volunteered to place flags at Mount Hope every year since joining.

“It’s real good to see people coming out here and taking time out of their day to put flags next to these headstones,” Ruby said. “I’ve always liked doing this. It’s just a nice thing to do.”

He added that this will be the last year he participates here because he is moving to Ohio at the end of the year.

Cory and Beckie Golob of Sabattus took their three children — Stanley, 10, Savannah, 8, and Simon, 5 — to Mount Hope Cemetery after seeing a Facebook post requesting volunteers.

“I thought it’d be a nice thing for us to do as a family,” said Beckie Golob, whose father served in the military during the Vietnam War.

Cory Golob added that volunteering at Mount Hope Cemetery “is a good way to show our children the importance of showing our veterans respect.”

Cory Golob and his son, Stanley, 10, place flags at veteran grave sites at Mount Hope Cemetery on Saturday in advance of Memorial Day. Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn

Conor Fay, a sophomore at Bates College, said he belongs to a group called Community Links, which accepts requests from community groups looking for volunteers and tasks students with free time to help.

“I got an email that said Mount Hope Cemetery was looking for volunteers to place flags, and I didn’t have anything else going on this Saturday, so I decided to help out,” Fay said.

Luc Collette, a first-time volunteer, said his family runs Collette Monuments in Lewiston, “which makes it kind of crazy that I’ve never done this before.”

Collette said his grandfather served in the Marines, and “using his G.I. money,” started Collette’s Monuments.

“Mount Hope Cemetery has always been really good to us, so I wanted to do something to give back,” Collette said. “I think it’s really nice that so many people come out to place flags.”

More volunteers will be needed at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 25, at St. Peter’s Cemetery on Switzerland Road, where the L/A Veterans Council is looking for people to help place about 4,000 flags. The event will be held rain or shine.

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The gravestone of Joseph A. Leclerc, a World War 1 veteran, gets marked with an American flag Saturday in advance of Memorial Day. Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn

The gravestone of Joseph A. Leclerc, a World War 1 veteran, gets marked with an American flag Saturday in advance of Memorial Day. Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn