Group Needs Help Maintaining Veterans’ Flags At Local Cemetery

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SALLISAW (KFSM) -- "Loved ones come out here when they bury their family, the veterans. And they put a flag up over them and (over time) they deteriorate," explained Mike Mouzakis, the commander of the American Legion Post 27 in Sallisaw.

The American Legion Post has taken it upon itself to maintain the flags posted near veterans' graves at the Sallisaw City Cemetery.

"I come out here and make a run through the cemetery just to see if they need to be changed or not," Larry Boatright of the American Legion said.

Dee Petree's late father has one of around 30 flags in the cemetery near his resting site.

"My dad just passed away in May," said Petree, "and out of respect for him being in the service, I wanted the flag."

The flags only last about two or three weeks each before they have to be changed out. According to Boatright, they're expensive; from as little as $11 to as much as $80. Which means keeping 30 maintained in the same cemetery can be difficult.

"Our biggest problem with the flags," Boatright says, "(is) they get torn on the ends."

Petree's father served four years in the Navy through the late 1950s and early 1960s. To her, the donations and upkeep mean the world.

"It's respect. He served his country. He took care of people. They fight. And this is respect for all of them. Any donation that people can make to help; it's a blessing," she said.

To make a donation, contact the American Legion Carnie Welch Post 27 in Sallisaw, Oklahoma.