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2017 Policing Platoon—Craig Flagler Palms Memorial Gardens


0900 hrs., Saturday, June 17, following a quick safety briefing by MOAA Secretary Deidre Wright, 13 MOAA members, family and friends made short work of removing the hundreds of flags placed on veterans’ graves in late May.

“I’ve been doing this for many years,” mentioned David Kelsey. “It’s just one small thing I can do to honor fallen soldiers.”

All flags that had been placed by MOAA in the Memorial Gardens were collected, and an assessment was made as to whether the flags can be used again or if they should be destroyed. MOAA President David Lydon took both caches of flags—to put the usable flags in storage for next year, and to take the worn and tattered flags for proper disposal.

Oftentimes people ask why MOAA removes the flags they recently placed on veterans’ graves. For the record, Memorial Day is the only day when flags can be used to decorate military graves, according to National Cemetery Administration Directives. Directive 3220 allows for flags to be displayed on military graves in Veteran Administration National Cemeteries from the weekend before Memorial Day until “shortly” afterward. Flags are to be removed to avoid being damaged by bad weather or being removed by those caring for the cemetery.

MOAA 2017 Policing Platoon, from left to right: Neal McCoppin, David Kelsey, David Lydon, Ray Parker, Dick Oexmann, Mary Oexmann, Deidre Wright, Charlie Ericksen, Rosemary Zattiero, Brian Leap, Dan Maxwell; Kneeling: Claudia Parker and David Mootz