LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It's truly a spectacular sight to behold -- the Avenue of Flags which has become a tradition on Memorial Day in Lake Charles -- to honor those who have sacrificed for our freedom. The display is growing with an all time high of 817 flags flying this year.
"It's hard not to get choked up as one passes along the avenue where hundreds of flags flutter in the breeze-- each representing one who served in the military. Each flag that flies was a casket flag for a veteran who has passed on. Elaine Cameron came here to honor her husband Tommy, a World War II veteran, who died in 2003. "It would be nice for the young people to recognize the importance of all the flags and what all these men have done and spend just a few minutes remembering what it is really all about."
Organizer Ted Harless says the flags put out by volunteers at Orange Grove Graceland Cemetery is the largest display of memorial flags between Florida and the West Coast. "The compatriot members envisioned a fitting tribute of patriotism that would involve a display of American Memorial Flags at Orange Grove Graceland Cemetery. A display fitting to the service and sacrifice of American Veterans."
U.S. Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Robert Compher's moving words were a reminder that indeed, freedom is not free. "Where some see only headstones and flags we see lives unfulfilled, yet filled with dignity and honor. They are our nations true heroes. Their heroism was prompted by faith in the fundamentals that have guided this nation from its beginnings, the idea that liberty must be protected whatever the cost."
The program this morning included a 21 gun salute by members of the Marine Corps League SWLA, Det.-535 and Taps was played by a member of American Legion Post 1 which sponsors the event.
And they invite all who have a Veteran's flag not being flown to add it to the display because in their words-- Flags are meant to fly! @
Organizers say it costs between $2000 -$4000 a year to put on the display so they are seeking donations to buy poles and maintain the collection. For more information call Director Ted Harless Jr. at 436-8940.