GREENFIELD — Each year, the entryway at Park Cemetery in Greenfield is transformed into a patriotic sea of red, white and blue.

The Avenue of Flags features nearly 900 flags, each of which is dedicated to the memory of a man or woman who has served in the United States military.

A crew of employees from the Greenfield Street Department made light work of setting up the display Thursday afternoon, getting the job done in less than 90 minutes.

Each 3-by-5-foot flag is affixed to a tall metal post, which is placed within a permanent hole in the ground by the front of the cemetery.

Veterans, families and individuals make a point of driving through the Avenue of Flags each year to enjoy the eye-catching exhibit. The flags are typically installed about 10 days before Memorial Day and are left up through the end of May.

The patriotic presentation was first orchestrated by the local American Legion Post 119 in the 1970s and was taken over a few years ago by the Greenfield Veterans Honor Guard.

Honor guard commander Bob Workman said the number of flags continues to grow steadily each year, as more people contribute the $75 required to have a flag erected in honor of a U.S. veteran who either lived in Hancock County or has ties to the area.

The one-time cost secures a flag and post, along with a dog tag stamped with the veteran’s name and branch of service.

“If anything happens to that flag in the future — if it’s torn or soiled or otherwise damaged — we will replace it at no charge,” said Workman, adding that each flag is placed in the same spot each year.

Workman said an additional 10 flags were purchased this year in honor of veterans, which brings the total number of flags to 899.

To plan ahead for future growth, a Morristown businessman named Sean Smith recently donated the supplies to create 300 more poles and 200 more mounts, which could grow the display to accommodate 1,200 flags someday.

“With that expansion we’ll have what we need to add 300 more flags, which should last us another 25 years,” said Workman, who called Smith “a patriotic guy.”

Smith took over his electrical, heating, cooling and plumbing business — J.R. Wortman Co. — after the previous owner and namesake passed away.

It was Wortman’s company that worked with local veterans to first get the Avenue of Flags project up and running.

Workman said he’s grateful to Smith for his generous donation, which will ensure that the popular flag display can continue to grow for years to come.

Workman also heaped praise on the city employees who seemed to effortlessly erect the sizeable flag display Thursday afternoon.

“They city guys do a great job of that … When we first started this it used to take us two full days to get all those up,” he recalled.

While it’s too late to sponsor a flag this year, those who wish to do so starting with next year’s display can contact the Park Cemetery office at 317-477-4387 or [email protected].

The Greenfield Veterans Honor Guard invites the public to attend a Memorial Day service within the Avenue of Flags starting at 10 a.m. Monday, May 27. Greenfield Mayor Guy Titus will speak, while the honor guard will provide the playing of Taps and a 21-gun salute.