LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC-TV) – The Avenue of Flags at the Orange-Grove Graceland cemetery in Lake Charles is a Memorial Day tradition.
In fact, with more than 760 American flags the Avenue of Flags, now in its 27th year, is one of the largest displays of its kind in the entire country.
Memorial Day activities kicked off Monday morning with an Avenue of Flags ceremony, which honored local veterans.
"We put this display up so people can walk through it, drive through it and [to] show the sacrifice for freedom here in our local area," said Ted Harless, director of the Sons of the American Revolution, the group that displays the flags each year on Memorial and Veteran's Day.
Besides patriotic tunes, the ceremony also featured Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach and Colonel James Jackson, who served heroically in Vietnam.
"These veterans represent the best in our American qualities…patriotism, love of country, desire to serve their country regardless of personal sacrifice," said Col. Jackson.
And for the Gill family, today was especially poignant. The man they admired so much, the late Gordon Thomas Gill, was honored for his service.
"My father was a Vietnam veteran," said Greg Gill, who spoke about his father's service at the ceremony. "He was a soldier in the United States Army. He was a pilot. He served two tours of duty in Vietnam."
"I'm especially honored dad was chosen to be the honoree of the ceremony," said Gordon Gill, Jr. "I feel gracious for all the servicemen, what they've done for our country and what they're doing for our country as it is today."
The Sons of the American Revolution are always on the lookout for more flags to add to their displays. If you have an old veteran's flag or would like to volunteer with the group, Ted Harless, the group's director, can be reached at (337) 437-7810.