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Tag Archive | "Avenue of Flags"

Memorial Day services 


The Glen Hill American Legion Post #287 Honor Guard as they walked through the Avenue of Flags at Elmwood Cemetery. Post photo by J. Reed.

Blue sky, sunshine, and hot weather welcomed area residents on Monday, May 28, as they gathered in cemeteries and parks for the annual Memorial Day services.

The ceremony at Elmwood Cemetery ended with a 21-gun salute followed by taps. Post photo by J. Reed.

Here in Cedar Springs, the Glen Hill American Legion Post held services at Elmwood Cemetery, where the Avenue of Flags memorialized veterans laid to rest there. There were names at each of the flags along the walkway, and flags on all the veterans graves, dating as far back as the Civil War. The American Legion also held services at Solon Cemetery; East Nelson Cemetery; and at Veterans Memorial Park on Oak Street. Nelson Township resident Col. Tom Noreen was the guest speaker. 

Memorial Day services were also held at Algoma, Sand Lake, Pierson, and Sparta.

The Cedar Springs Historical Society held their annual cemetery walk honoring veterans on Sunday, May 27.

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A way to remember: the Avenue of Flags


The Avenue of Flags lines the road through Elmwood Cemetery, a reminder of many of the veterans that have served over the years. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

It’s a majestic site each Memorial Day—hundreds of flags standing proudly, unfurled in the breeze, against the pale blue of a sun-drenched sky. They line the avenue that winds through Elmwood Cemetery on Northland Drive in Cedar Springs. They are beautiful to look at, but what is the story behind them?

According to Paul Schrier, treasurer at the American Legion Glen Hill Post #287, each flag honors a veteran who is no longer living. The flags are casket-sized, and according to Paul, it began years ago when families would give the Legion the flag they received at their loved one’s burial. They would hold on to it for the family, and then fly it once a year on Memorial Day. 

However, some families want to keep the original flag, so the Legion allows families to just buy a duplicate to fly once a year. The Legion also provides a pole and a plate at the base with the name of the veteran.

One thing many people may not know is that the veteran does not have to be buried in Elmwood Cemetery to have a flag on the avenue. But they do need to be a veteran, have been honorably discharged, and have some connection with Cedar Springs. A duplicate flag costs $50, and can be bought from the American Legion Post.

It’s unknown exactly when the tradition started. Schrier said he’s been organizing it for about the last seven years. However, we came across a story in a 1998 edition of the Post where George Cooley, a veteran now deceased, said at the time he had been doing it for 14 years. At the time, there were 101 flags on the Avenue of Flags.

According to Schrier, there are now 180 flags.

It takes some work ahead of time to get the holes in the cemetery ready for the flags, as well as get any new nameplates made. The American Legion also is always looking for volunteers to help put up the flags at 6 a.m. Monday morning, and then take them down again about 4 p.m. in the afternoon. If it is raining, or if rain is forecasted, they will not put them out since they are cotton, and will instead hold services in the American Legion hall.

So what does Schrier want people to feel as they walk through the Avenue of Flags? “It’s pretty impressive. I hope they remember the veterans that have served over the years,” he said.

If anyone would like to volunteer to help, or would like to buy a flag for a future year, contact Paul at the American Legion Post at 696-9160.

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