CLEVELAND (WJW) – Hundreds of volunteers are working to locate and place 9,000 American flags on veterans’ graves at Lake View cemetery for Memorial Day.

Volunteers Michael, Kathleen and Bruce Fisher are three of an estimated 350 volunteers helping. Michael said he has two grandparents who served in World War II, so he feels connected to them and his community when he volunteers.

“Memorial Day often becomes a time for people to celebrate or take advantage of retail sales, but surely it’s about those who sacrificed their lives for our country,” he said.

Memorial Day holds a special significance to Lake View Cemetery. It is the location for President James Garfield’s tomb, the 20th president of the United States.

“He’s the one who gave the first Memorial Day speech in 1868,” Lake View Cemetery President and CEO Katharine Goss said. “Back then it was called Decoration Day, and the intention was to decorate the graves of Civil War soldiers who had fallen.”

Goss said Lake View Cemetery is also preparing for its annual Memorial Day Observance Ceremony on Monday at 10:30 a.m.

Local U.S. Army veteran Corwyn Collier will be the keynote speaker. The event is free and open to the public.

“We couldn’t do it without our volunteers,” Goss said. “Many of them come every year and it’s very fulfilling, and it kind of resets the meaning of the holiday. It’s a great kick off for summer, but after all, we wouldn’t have reason to have a kickoff for summer if somebody hadn’t made a sacrifice for our freedom and democracy.”

Retired U.S. Air Force Nurse Rhonda Trice and Bill Carson are also working to place flags for veterans. Trice’s father also served in World War II. She hopes everyone will take a moment this weekend to observe the holiday how it was intended – to honor our heroes.

“It’s a time of remembrance,” Trice said. “I think it’s a time for looking at the history of our country and considering everything that our military goes through in order to guarantee our freedom.”