LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It took 32 years, but now the bi-annual display of the Avenue of Flags has reached the one thousand mark. This Monday, one thousand veteran casket flags will be on display at Orange Grove & Graceland Cemetery on Broad Street.
"That means a lot of people have gotten involved and donated flags down through the years, because they're casket flags," said Avenue of Flags director Ted Harless. "That's a big sacrifice for families to donate their loved one's flag to the Avenue of Flags."
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The nation's largest display of veteran casket flags got started in the mid-1980s with only 50 flags.
"I have had the opportunity on several occasions to actually participate in raising a flag for the first time for a friend or a friend's family member who has passed away," said Carol Fontenot, one of the volunteers who help put up the flags. "That experience I will never forget."
This week, volunteer Fontenot donated her father's casket flag. Korean War Navy veteran "Buck" Pryne died in 2005.
"I mean every single time, Veterans Day, Memorial day, she's out there putting flags up, taking them down," said Harless. "Folding them. We're very excited having one of our own to bring a flag in."
"It's an occasion where we remember that person and we're sad of our loss of them in our lives, but it's a celebration of their life and their service to our country," said Fontenot. "It'll probably be an emotional day for me, too. It'll be a pretty neat experience."
A Memorial Day ceremony will be held at the flag display Monday, May 29, 2017 at 9 a.m. The flags will be on display from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m.. 200 volunteers are needed to help set up and take down the flags. Volunteers are asked to show up at Orange Grove & Graceland Cemetery on Broad Street at 6 a.m. and then again at 5 p.m. that afternoon.