JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – American flags are now in place at every gravesite within the Jacksonville National Cemetery -- all 22,000 of them.
This is all in preparation for the cemetery’s Memorial Day observance this Saturday.
The cemetery put out a call for volunteers to help lay the flags Thursday -- and they got a tremendous response. Cemetery officials estimate around 3,000 volunteers arrived at different times Thursday morning.
Many told News4JAX it’s a meaningful experience for everyone involved.
The cemetery’s director was overwhelmed. He said, “The whole city is here to help plant flags!”
Among those to come out Thursday were Teres Biggs and her granddaughter, Myra.
“I’m very proud. It’s very touching that she knows and understands,” Biggs said of being there with Myra.
Biggs has family members buried at the cemetery, including her father, whose picture she wears around her neck. She and Myra visit the cemetery every month.
“She loves to just wander through here. And she touches different headstones as if she knows different people that need to be visited,” Biggs said.
Myra isn’t alone. Hundreds of volunteers came to plant flags and reflect. For Navy Logistics Specialist Byrleen Banks, it was an honor to see the turnout.
“It’s special that their lives are not forgotten. Because it was a meaningful way that they passed away. And we should always remember that,” Banks said.
For Biggs, the response gives her hope for the future.
“I think it’s important that we should see the good,” Biggs said. “And to see how many of our young men and women still believe in our country and still want to take care of our country.”