Community members placed flags on the graves of veterans at Lewiston’s cemeteries.

LEWISTON — A record number of volunteers turned out on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend to honor veterans buried at St. Peter’s Cemetery.

An estimated 360 volunteers spread out throughout the 70-acre cemetery, placing flags on every veteran’s grave they found.

“It’s just a gorgeous day, and it’s a gorgeous cause, and if you look around and see all those flags waving over the cemetery, it makes you feel good,” said Joyce Richmond, a member of the Lewiston & Auburn Veterans Council, which organized the effort. “I’m a Gold Star Mother, which means my daughter passed away while serving in the Air Force, so it’s very important to me to honor her especially, but I know what sacrifices these people have made. They’ve given their lives for us.”

Richmond said 4,000 American flags were handed out to the volunteers, who fanned out to every corner of the cemetery, going row by row and reading inscriptions to try to ensure no veteran’s grave was missed.

The volunteers practiced social distancing rules, with parties staying at least six feet apart and individuals donning face masks.

While the volunteers went about their work, James Thibodeau accompanied them on the bagpipes, playing patriotic music, including the hymns from the different branches of the U.S. Armed Services.

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