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Volunteers honor veteran graves each year

VFW Post 3922 volunteers place flags and markers on hundreds of graves each year before Memorial Day weekend. Phil Thoennes, Jim White, Roger Bahls and Leo Kempf worked at the cemetery last week.

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 members Jim White, Roger Bahls, Phil Thoennes and Leo Kempf were some of the volunteers placing hundreds of flags on graves throughout the cemetery. The volunteers spend a day the week before Memorial Day placing the stars and flags.

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. Additional graves are added to the list each year as additional veterans pass away.

The men volunteering their time to do this say it's their honor to spend time making sure veterans buried in the cemetery are properly honored each year.

The flags are dotted throughout the cemetery, along with flower arrangements and plants placed by families each year.

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.
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