GREENFIELD — About 10 days before Memorial Day, the flags go up.
More than 700 in number, the red, white and blue fabric stretches as far as the eye can see in Park Cemetery, and dangling from each is a dog tag honoring a deceased veteran.
The Greenfield Veterans Honor Guard recently took over maintenance and setup of the flags, a duty overseen by Dale E. Kuhn American Legion Post 119 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2693 for the past 40 years, said Bob Workman, Greenfield Veterans Honor Guard commander.
On Memorial Day, the Avenue of Flags is the backdrop for an annual ceremony, and families can take the time to walk the rows to find their loved one’s flag.
“From a veteran’s viewpoint, it’s special to us,” Workman said. “It’s a remembrance of all those who have gone before us.”
The cost of reserving a flag and dog tag for a special veteran is $50; this one-time cost also covers maintenance and storage, Workman said. The veteran honored does not have to have been a Hancock County resident — any deceased veteran is eligible, Workman said, as long as someone wants to honor them.
The Avenue of Flags last saw a major change in 2008, when $15,000 in repairs were undertaken, Workman said.
In 2008, the memorial was reconstructed, making it easier to get the flags in the ground and in straight lines. Before then, it took a few days to complete the job.
The memorial has space for 1,000 flags. Workman said that’s enough space to add veterans to it for more than a dozen years to come.
The flags are in the same spot every year, and a catalog system keeps track of where each flag goes.
The system helps families know exactly where their loved one’s flag is placed, so they don’t have to search.
To reserve a flag for a special veteran, contact Greenfield Veterans Honor Guard commander Bob Workman at 462-7540 or David Pasco at 462-7064. The deadline is May 1.
Send forms to 1104 Grayson Drive, Greenfield, IN 46140.
The cost is $50 per flag and dog tag, and checks may be made out to the Greenfield Veterans Honor Guard — put “Avenue of Flags” in the memo space.
Order forms will be available at the Park Cemetery office, and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts in Fortville, Greenfield and New Palestine.