Each grave adorned, not a hero forgotten

AMELIA, VA (WWBT) - AMELIA COUNTY (WWBT) -- This weekend, as we honor the men and women who served for our freedom, a group of veterans in Amelia County is giving fallen heroes an extra special tribute.

Monday morning, at 10 a.m., an Army National Guard Band, along with Virginia's Lieutenant Governor, veterans and other guests and residents will pay tribute to those in uniform unlike ever before in Amelia County. However, perhaps of most note this year, nearly 3,000 flags have been flown above each soldier's grave.

Amelia's American Legion raised more than $6,000 to plant American and service branch flags above every veteran's resting place.

"(We explained to people) what we were trying to do, and the community wrapped their arms around it," says Iraq War veteran John Harmon, commander of the American Legion Post 87 in Amelia.

First Lieutenant Jonathan Glasscock, a member of the Virginia Army National Guard and also Amelia's American Legion, says Memorial Day isn't just symbolic for him. He lost two comrades overseas eight years ago.

"This is incredibly important to me because August 7th, 2004, my unit, Battalion 116th Infantry Regiment, lost the first two soldiers that Virginia had lost since D-Day in 1944," says Glasscock, who has served in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

One of those soldiers was also a dear friend of Glasscock's. "I knew him all seven years before we went on deployment," he says.

The planting of flags at the Amelia's veteran cemetery started several years ago with one veteran, who took it upon himself to honor the service men and women buried there.

"I went to flag store in Richmond ordered 12 X 18 inch flags... On Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Veteran's Day, I'd place flags on graves," says Raymond Gallagher, a Vietnam veteran and also member of Amelia's American Legion.

Years later, the local American Legion has joined Raymond Gallagher's operation. The mission is especially close to his heart. Raymond's own father lost his life in uniform, four months before he was born. "I've always had a very deep feeling for those people who have served and have made that sacrifice," says Gallagher.

It's a sacrifice which will be remembered not only on Memorial Day, but as America's colors continue to fly with freedom.

The American Legion raised so much money, they say they'll be able to plant flags for more years to come, as well as donating 500 American flags to the cemetery.

The Memorial Day tribute begins Monday at 10 a.m.. There is additional parking and a shuttle bus at the Amelia County High School.

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