Veterans’ graves marked with American flags before Memorial Day

Herman Marmon, who spent nearly two decades of his life serving in the U.S. Military, led a large group of members of the American Legion Post 421 and volunteers in placing flags at every veteran's grave stone at the East Hanover cemetery.

News 12 Staff

May 22, 2021, 2:06 PM

Updated 1,100 days ago

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Volunteers gathered at Restland Memorial Park in East Hanover on Saturday morning to place flags on the graves of veterans.
Herman Marmon, who spent nearly two decades of his life serving in the U.S. Military, led a large group of members of the American Legion Post 421 and volunteers in placing flags at every veteran's grave stone at the East Hanover cemetery.
"They didn't give their lives, their lives were taken. None of us that I know of ever went into any battle expecting that we were going to give our lives,” Marmon says. “It's important to at least honor that sacrifice they did make.”
Nearly 5,000 veterans are buried at the cemetery, including some unmarked graves. Some veterans buried there served as far back as the Spanish American War.
The group of nearly 50 volunteers scattered through the cemetery with handfuls of flags for hours.
"Family doesn't visit them anymore, so you have to spend more time digging and scraping away just to see whether or not the headstone marker has a designation on it," says Alphonse Porcello, a U.S. Navy veteran. "It is a little tough, and the ground is hard and planting the flag is difficult, but it's worthwhile."
Denise Vollert Parrotto has taken part in the flag placing event for around 15 years. At gravesites, she says she also takes time to learn about the person and their contribution to the country.
"It's just my way of saying thank you in a small way and helping out, and I just enjoy it," she says.
The flags will remain in place at the cemetery until a week after Memorial Day.
The event was put on exclusively by the American Legion for decades, but as membership has dropped, it's has become a community effort.


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