Volunteers Place Thousands of Flags At Riverside National Cemetery to Honor Veterans
UPDATED 5/25 SATURDAY A.M.
RIVERSIDE (CNS) - Hundreds of volunteers fanned out Saturday morning at Riverside National Cemetery to post miniature American flags alongside the graves of servicemen and women buried there as part of a Memorial Day weekend tribute.
The annual ``Flag for Every Hero'' ceremony, organized by Cypress-based Honoring Our Fallen, draws families, Boy Scouts, police Explorers, Civil Air Patrol cadets and others interested in participating in the walk throughout the hallowed grounds, placing flags adjacent to plots.
When the flag walks began on Memorial Day weekend 2012, volunteers were able to reach only 21,000 of the more than 200,000 grave sites. In 2014, organizers were able to procure enough flags and enlist a sufficient number of people to plant the Stars and Stripes next to just about all of the final
resting places of individuals interred at the cemetery.
Since then, the number of volunteers has grown, and the flags are
placed within about three hours, according to Anaheim police Officer Brennan
Leininger, an honorably discharged U.S. Air Force serviceman, began co-
organizing flag walks after he visited the cemetery and was dismayed by how
few flags were flying. Riverside resident Mary Ellen Gruendyke, now in her late
70s, had contributed money and time to the effort for years. Her group works
with Honoring Our Fallen to achieve the same goal of flag placement.
The 900-acre national cemetery is the fourth-largest of its kind in
the nation -- and running out of space.
Information about the walks, how to volunteer and where to make
donations is available at www.honoringourfallen.org .