This is the sixth year the veteran and youth service organizations have dressed up the graves on Independence Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Christmas.
Daniel Koob, second vice commander of AmVets Department of Tennessee and former commander of Post 13 in Cleveland, said the organization began decorating the graves after his father, Albert Koob, died in December 2007.
“I came out here the next Veterans Day and there wasn’t a flag anywhere on this cemetery,” he said. “I went back to our post and said that would never happen again.”
Before Venture Crew members placed two flags at each gravesite, Koob explained the purpose to them.
“A lot of these guys fought in wars and the ones who didn’t fight, stood guard over our country to prevent war. “Some of us were in action and some of us weren’t. Some of us saw action with the Russians during the Cuban Missile Crisis during peacetime. Right now we are at war in Afghanistan.
“We are putting these flags up so these men and women will not be forgotten. ”
In addition to decorating graves, the local post sends care packages to members of the armed forces in Afghanistan. After Afghanistan, they plan to continue sending packages to active duty personnel.
“June marked the sixth year we’ve been sending packages overseas,” he said.
They began sending the packages to Iraq at the request of former post commander Terry Hall’s nephew.
“He was a captain over there. He contacted our post and said they didn’t have any supplies over there — none,” Koob said. “We’ve sent supplies over there ever since. First it was Iraq and Afghanistan, but now it’s just Afghanistan.”
The packages contain beef jerky, candy, eyedrops, foot powder, wet wipes, toothpaste, aspirin and anything else to make life more comfortable for service members in the field.
Sgt. Andy Calfee, a member of Post 13, recently returned from deployment to Afghanistan. Since his return, he has presented two flags to the public.
“So that’s what we do. We’re a veterans’ post and we will support our troops out there,” Koob said.
AmVets Post 13 is the sponsor of Venture Crew 2213.