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Volunteers proudly decorate cemetery with flags

Roger Bahls walks throughout the cemetery placing flags on graves of veterans.1 / 6
Dave Ludovissie places a stake and flag at a veteran's grave at the Wadena Cemetery.2 / 6
Flags are placed on nearly 600 veterans' graves throughout the Wadena Cemetery each Memorial Day.3 / 6
VFW member Jimmy White looks at grave site records to determine where each veteran is buried.4 / 6
Leo Kempf looks for a particular veteran's grave site at the Wadena Cemetery.5 / 6
Rod Wells carries a handful of flags to be placed on grave sites in the cemetery.6 / 6

The Wadena Cemetery is decorated with flags each Memorial Day by members of the Wadena VFW Post 3922.

Graves of all veterans are marked with a stake displaying a star and American flag. It's not a simple task.

VFW member Jimmy White estimates close to 600 flags are placed throughout the cemetery.

"We go out the Wednesday before Memorial Day and they stay up for a week," he said.

White has been placing flags for Memorial Day for decades. He works off grave site records and also his memory to make sure no graves are missed.

Rod Wells, Leo Kempf, Roger Bahls and Dave Ludovissie also donate time to place flags at the Wadena Cemetery. They are also members of the VFW.

"It's my honor to do this," Bahls said. "Now that I retired I have time to do things like this."

The others are also happy to work at the cemetery and feel it's their duty to make sure veterans buried in the cemetery are honored for their service.

The flags, dotted throughout the cemetery, along with flowers placed by families and friends, make the cemetery a beautiful, reflective place to visit on Memorial Day.

These cemetery caretakers return the Wednesday after Memorial Day to take down the nearly 600 flags until next year.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561