RIVERSIDE (CNS) - A call went out today for volunteers to assist a nonprofit group in posting miniature American flags alongside the graves of servicemembers buried at Riverside National Cemetery as part of a Memorial Day weekend tribute that's expanded since it started seven years ago.
Cypress-based Honoring Our Fallen began flag-placing events at the cemetery in 2012, relying on the support of people of all ages, who donate their time to plant the flags adjacent to the 200,000-plus graves at the cemetery.
Last year, several hundred people showed up to help, but event founder
Brennan Leininger isn't certain how many might make it during the holiday
weekend this time.
Anyone interested in participating is asked to contact him via email
at email@example.com, or simply be there at staging time -- 8 a.m. on
Saturday, May 25.
The flag walks typically take about two hours and cover almost every
corner of the hallowed grounds, which comprise 900 acres and lie just west of
the March Air Reserve Base, on the south end of Riverside. The property is the
fourth-largest national cemetery in the country.
Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, police Explorers, Civil Air Patrol
cadets, fire department Explorers, ROTC squads, families and relatives of those
buried at the cemetery have joined the effort in the past.
Leininger, an Anaheim police officer who served in the U.S. Air Force,
was inspired to organize the flag walks after a visit to the cemetery on
Veterans Day 2011, when he noticed that most of the grave sites had no flags
When the walks started on Memorial Day weekend 2012, volunteers were
able to reach only 21,000 plots. But thanks to private and public
contributions, within three years enough flags were purchased to mark the final
resting places of all the men and women interred at the cemetery.
Riverside resident Mary Ellen Gruendyke, whose husband is buried
there, initiated a flag-placing campaign years prior to Honoring Our Fallen and
had been able to reach thousands of plots, but never anywhere close to all of
them. Gruendyke and Leininger combined efforts in 2014 to fulfill the mission.
More information about the walks, how to volunteer and where to make
donations is available at www.honoringourfallen.org .