Volunteers placed around 1,200 American flags at markers in the Florence National Cemetery on Saturday morning in preparation for Monday’s Memorial Day service.
The event was one of hundreds being held throughout the country in every national cemetery this week.
MSgt. Robert J. Holcombe, the master of ceremonies, brought this fact to the attention of participating volunteers.
“Remember that you are, along with thousands more, honoring our veterans who have come before us,” Holcombe said. “This is Memorial Day; it’s Remembrance Day.”
It took volunteers only about an hour to sweep the whole grounds of the cemetery and place an American flag at each marker.
The Shank family, from Chattanooga, Tennessee, was among the crowd spending the morning at the cemetery. Teresa Shank explained that for the past two years they have made it a family tradition to visit Florence and decorate the Florence National Cemetery while vacationing in Myrtle Beach.
“We miss doing this event at home, so we feel like it’s really important for our kids to have this as a part of their childhood,” said Shank, “Just to be able to recognize the value and the importance of the sacrifices that people have given to our country.”
Kenneth Smith, pack leader of Cub Scout Pack 719 in Dillon, also noted the importance of teaching children, particularly his Cub Scouts, the meaning of Memorial Day.
“Being a veteran myself and just being able to give back to fallen soldiers and to honor a day of celebration for more than just cooking out,” said Smith, “It was actually an educational trip as well as something they enjoyed with placing the flags. They started to have a sense of purpose of what it’s really for, and putting something in these young people.”
The Memorial Day service will be held at the Florence National Cemetery on Monday and will begin at 10 a.m. The keynote speaker will be Maj. Gen. Robert E. Livingston, adjutant general of South Carolina. There will also be music by the Praise Tabernacle Ministries Choir, rifle volleys and taps by the Veterans Honor Guard and assisted by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. It should also be noted that there is limited seating so guests are encouraged to take chairs.