Flag shortage disrupts Memorial Day tradition at local cemeteries in Stark County


CANTON, Ohio (WJW) — This year’s Memorial Day will not look or feel like a typical one at cemeteries across Stark County.

“You wouldn’t have all your politicians, your freedom and all that without your veterans and there is a lot of them,” said Bob Harper of the Greater Canton Veterans Council.

On Memorial Day, veterans along with the assistance of community members normally place a brand new American Flag pennant at the grave site of each veteran at the 38 cemeteries across the county, 25,000 flags in all.  

“We buy American made flags and we get them locally, we try to get them through R and S Sewing and they have been down since the beginning of March,” said Harper.

With no new flags available, the Veterans Council will pull the pennants from storage, reusing some from last year and place the American Flags at the entrances of cemeteries where visitors can place them personally at the grave.

“We have to make sure they are American made. We had someone offer us some Chinese made American flags, there is no way we can put that on a grave site,” Harper said.

*Read more stories on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, here.*

Boy Scouts from the local troops usually assist in placing those flags at the grave site, but due to COVID-19, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is asking the scouts to honor veterans in a different way due to safety concerns. So on Monday, they will do a virtual tribute to Veterans.

“It is as important as ever that we honor our veterans on Memorial Day. Veteran’s Day is important because of the precious freedoms that we take for granted every day. Celebrating and honoring the individuals who made the ultimate sacrifice is the least we could do for the freedom we have been given,” said Jesse Roper II, Scout Executive and CEO of the Buckeye Council in a statement to FOX 8.

“There are a lot of people out there that have veterans in their family history or they have veterans that are alive, younger ones and that, thank them,” said Harper.

Flag or no flag, those veterans won’t be forgotten.  

*Click here for the latest coverage on Memorial Day.*


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