Remembering Veterans

Lexington Rotary Club Members Mark Graves

Editor’s note: Last week’s front page article about Lexington Rotary Club members and other volunteers placing American flags at local cemeteries contained several key inaccuracies. The corrected version, including some additional information about the club’s activities, is reprinted here.

While many events honoring veterans locally this year were canceled because of the pandemic, one traditional observance continued last week.

The Rotary Club of Lexington (chartered 1922), with help from volunteers from the Kappa Alpha Order and family members, placed approximately 800 American flags at the graves of deceased veterans in the two Lexington cemeteries last Monday afternoon.

About 700 flags were placed in front of veterans’ graves in Oak Grove Cemetery, formerly known as Stonewall Jackson Cemetery, and about 120 flags in front of veterans’ graves in Evergreen Cemetery. The volunteers helping out were able to identify most of the veterans’ graves by markings on the graves noting in which wars the veterans had served.

The club members and volunteers enjoyed sunny weather, with temperatures in the 70s, and the shade of the trees.

Kent McMichael, archivist for the Kappa Alpha Order National Administrative Office and a member of the Rotary Club of Lexington, organized the effort. He and his wife, Betty, also put flags for veterans at Timber Ridge Cemetery, several miles north of Lexington where some of Betty’s relatives are buried. Kent retired from the U.S. Army with over 33 years of service and with the rank of sergeant-major. One tour of duty was with the Old Guard at Arlington Cemetery.

The Rotary Club of Lexington has been placing American flags in front of veterans’ graves twice a year, for Memorial Day and Veterans Day, for about 12 years, Kent said. In 2014, as an additional club community service project, the club contracted to have the U.S. government issued stones in Evergreen Cemetery cleaned and remounted if necessary, at a cost of $7,578.00. These funds came from the club’s treasury.

While placing flags in Oak Grove Cemetery, McMichael said, “There are veterans here from every American war.” They removed the flags Thursday, the day after Veterans Day.

Volunteering from KA were Mitch Belanger and Evan Hanna, along with three children whose mothers work for KA: Daniel Reed and brothers John and Philip Brooke.

Leading the club, which takes part in numerous service projects throughout the year, is its president, Stewart Fleming, who placed flags at both Oak Grove and Evergreen cemeteries on. Other Rotarians helping were Allan Summerville-Brown, David Passmore, Skip Ravenhorst and Julia Van de Water.

The News-Gazette

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