Continuing a tradition one flag at a time

Image: Italy youth help place flags on veterans graves at the Italy Cemetery.

Italy youth help place flags on veterans graves at the Italy Cemetery. (Karen Mathiowetz)

Several years ago, Thomas Franklin Porterfield and his wife, Mary, decided that they would place flags on the graves of veterans at the Italy Cemetery. Porterfield was a retired Air Force officer and realized the sacrifice each veteran had given for America. Thus a tradition was born.

After he passed away, others kept the tradition going and continue to place flags at the cemetery on Memorial Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day.

When Bobbie Dorothy Thompson asked me to help place flags at the cemetery, I gladly agreed. As a veteran myself, I have many family members that were in the military that are buried here. I am honored to help with this.

Debbie Tatum, Linda Goodman, Carla Pickard and myself meet three times each year to place the flags on graves. This week, they had additional help.

Ronnie Dabney, Britney Chambers, Tanner Chambers, Jenna Chambers, Madie Chambers, Morgan Chambers, J.D Cate and Austin Cate came this week to help with the task.

“I am honored to be able to continue the tradition Mr. Porterfield started,” said Linda Goodman. “I am so happy that we had others to help this time.”

Jenna Chambers felt it was important for her children to learn community service and to give back to those that have given so much for our freedom.

Mr. Porterfield started the tradition of honoring those that sacrificed for our country. The volunteers plan to keep the tradition going.