Volunteers honor fallen heroes with flags in the Black Hills

From Memorial Day through May 31, the Black Hills National Cemetery will have American flags...
From Memorial Day through May 31, the Black Hills National Cemetery will have American flags placed on all the graves.(Humberto Giles-Sanchez)
Published: May. 29, 2023 at 5:25 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - For some, Memorial Day is an excuse to go out and have fun with the family. For others, the meaning of Memorial Day goes back to what the holiday was originally started for: to honor those fallen men and women who fought for the rights that we have today.

Flag placements like the one at Black Hills National Cemetery are held throughout the U.S. to remember the fallen men and women.

“This is for people that didn’t make it out of the uniform; they never made it home. For some of the volunteers, it’s hard not to remember what these men and women fought for. I’m a veteran myself, and I enjoy coming up and doing this,” said U.S. veteran Olen Chambers.

As Chambers notes, volunteering for some of the participants and organizers holds a special place in their hearts.

“Everybody I knew had a relative that was in the service, and it’s important to me to honor them. Many of them are out here, and they were the village that raised me, and now I come back to thank them,” said Military Honor Flags USA President Kris Mattson.

“To me, I have family here and friends, and it’s just a nice memorial; it’s just a nice way to say thank you,” said Black Hills resident Marcelle Herman.

The way they say thank you is by placing an American flag on the grave, representing what those men and women fought for.

“That’s what they fought for, freedom, and the flag indicates that; that’s our symbol, so their symbol is placed before them for what they gave up,” explained Mattson.

“This is what it’s about; it’s our freedom; there need to be rules, and these people sacrifice everything so we could be in that position,” expressed Herman.

The flags will be up until May 31, when Military Honor Flags USA will host a clean-up to properly take them out.