Veterans and volunteers gathered to place flags at veteran’s graveside

Hampden County

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – On Sunday, veterans and volunteers gathered to place flags on every veteran’s graveside at the Saint Thomas Cemetery in West Springfield.

William Weckerly a marine corp veteran told 22News, “You know a lot of the people in here made the ultimate sacrifice. You know, fighting for our country. And I believe every veteran in the cemetery deserves to have a flag on their stone. So If I just donate an hour or two of my time to put them on, that’s alright by me.”

And that’s what dozens of volunteers did Sunday morning. They placed these colors, veterans fought so hard to protect, by their graves at Saint Thomas Cemetery in West Springfield, as a way to thank them for their service.

“I wanted to give back to veterans who have given their lives for us. And re flagging the cemetery where their buried, seems like a really good opportunity to do that”, said Connor Siwicki a Westover Young Marine.

The Westover Young Marines have been flagging graves for veterans since 2001. They do it twice a year on Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

I can’t imagine being a parent or having a loved one, but if my son was ever to get in I’d be a proud military parent”, said Dan labranch of Parent Young Marines Westover.

Something these future servicemen are honored to do.

“This uniform is more than just a uniform to me. It makes me feel like I belong to something important. Their Unit commander Edward Mitrook, explains to his young platoon of 8 to18 year olds, what the ultimate sacrifice means” said, Landon Labranch of young marines Westover.

Unit Commander Edward Mitrook “A lot of these veterans were died during the war. If you look at some of these dates on here. Some of these veterans were 18, 19, 20 years old. I mean going back to World War 1. The kids read these and they say, ‘Wow, they weren’t much older than me.’ And they spilled their blood, so they can do stuff like this.”

And laying flags is their way of saying Thank You.

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