Hundreds of memorial flags are needed to replace weather-worn flags used in the Avenue of Flags presentation and to fill in the newly expanded burial sections at the Indiantown Gap National Cemetery, Annville.
The Avenue of Flags presentation at this National Cemetery currently is a display of more than 550 American interment (casket/memorial) flags attached to 20-foot staffs placed along the driveways of the cemetery.
With the new grave section expansion, the Flags-Up event in May 2020 will initially need at least 660 interment flags to complete the display and flag donations continued through the year to maintain a supply of replacement interment flags.
Specifically, an “interment flag” is the flag presented to the surviving family member at a military honors funeral.
The Veterans Administration has a strict policy stating only interment flags are permitted to be flown on the Avenue of Flags.
Through the years, many families have donated their flags to be flown on the Avenue of Flags at this National Cemetery in honor and as a tribute to their deceased loved one regardless of where the veteran is buried.
The National Cemetery’s Memorial Council invites the public to become involved in the Avenue of Flags program by donating their family’s cherished interment flag and allow the Memorial Council to fly it on the Avenue of Flags.
Of the 135 national cemeteries, Indiantown Gap National Cemetery and a smaller one in South Dakota are the only ones presenting this style of the Avenue of Flags from the beginning of May until shortly after Veteran’s Day in November.
Every flag is inspected by the weekly inspection teams who take down and replace weather-worn flags, sometimes at the rate of 90 to 100 flags a month.
Weather-worn flags are then retired with dignity and their ashes are placed in the bottom of a standard grave before the veteran’s casket is placed.
To donate an interment flag, drop it off at the Indiantown Gap National Cemetery’s Administration Building (the building with the barn silo) weekdays between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
There will also be two collection locations set up on Oct. 12 to accept donated flags to the Avenue of Flags presentation.
Bridge Church on Kauffman Road, Route 934, just outside Annville will accept flags from 9 a.m. to noon. Memorial Council member Althea Cirillo will collect at that location.
The second location is at the Indiantown Gap National Cemetery from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday. Bob Hauser will be at that location to accept donated flags.
Those interested can also contact Hauser by email at email@example.com if they can’t get to the collection locations that day.
Boy Scout troops, VFWs, American Legions and other organizations that perform flag retirement ceremonies are encouraged not to retire them, but to donate them to the Memorial Council so those flags can be flown in final tribute on the hallowed grounds of the national cemetery.
Those who do not have an interment flag to donate, but would still like to contribute to the presentation can consider making a financial donation to the Memorial Council.
Funds are used to purchase the aluminum flag staffs for these flags or toward the next annual purchase of the full set of state and territorial flags.
Make donation checks payable to “Memorial Council” and mail to Memorial Council, P.O. Box 58, Annville, PA 17003.
The Memorial Council is an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit Pennsylvania corporation.
For more information, visit the Memorial Council website, www.igncmc.webs.com. Questions can also be emailed to Hauser at firstname.lastname@example.org.