Ringwood man places dozens of American flags on veterans’ graves

John Wands started the effort after going to Prospect Hill Cemetery in West Caldwell to visit his uncle’s grave.

Matt Trapani and Kurt Siegelin

Nov 8, 2023, 5:00 AM

Updated 155 days ago


Veterans Day will be commemorated this weekend. That fact is apparent at one New Jersey cemetery, all thanks to a man from Ringwood.
John Wands came to the Prospect Hill Cemetery in West Caldwell to put a flag on the grave of his uncle, a World War II veteran with the 82nd Airborne. Wands’ uncle died eight days after D-Day.
“He gave it all. He was only 19 years old. I didn’t know my uncle was buried here until 1982. I thought he was in France,” Wands says.
Wands have been honoring his uncle for the last 40 years and began a mission to put a flag on ever veteran’s grave at the cemetery.
"I don't think some of these people have family anymore. They all deserve it. They put out so much for our country. That one year, no flags. That really got to me,” Wands says.
Wands comes to the cemetery every Veterans Day with dozens of flags in hand, and honors those who may no longer have family to do it for them.
"It's a lot of work. Here two hours this morning. taking care of flags. It's just respect for these gentlemen,” he says.

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