West Springfield Lions Club honor veterans with flag display on Town Common

Hampden County

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The West Springfield Lions Club placed flags on the town common Saturday morning to show their appreciation for our veterans.

Starting at 8 a.m. Saturday morning, participants began placing rows of flags in the town common. Flags dedicated to those who served or are currently serving our country.

In its fifth year, the West Springfield Lions Club is having to change how it does the Veterans Park of Heroes display. Scaling down because of COVID-19.

“We’re really shocked and surprised we were able to get 300,” said John Ladue, president of the club. “But even if we only get one flag, we would put it up.”

Ladue says they have been working to pay tribute to the residents at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home whose lives were lost to the virus. Residents who would have been at the display Saturday, honored in a ceremony.

“These guys fought a war and made it back. But we couldn’t keep them healthy once they got here? We have a banner for them then and we have a banner for them today, to honor the veterans of the Soldiers’ Home,” Ladue continued.

Thanking our veterans is a value that has been passed down in the Ladue family, John’s daughter, Holly, handing the torch to her son.

“This means a lot to us. I bring my son every year as well. It has really brought us together more as a family,” she told 22News.

Hundreds of flags, each one sponsored to raise money for the children and grandchildren of veterans in Hampden County.

“The year before, there was a grandparent in tears as he left because his grandson is thanking him for the scholarship,” said Ladue.

The West Springfield Lions Club is welcoming people to walk through the display, read the names and share the stories of their loved ones who served.

The display will be up throughout the rest of October and November.

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