Veterans’ graves improved prior to Memorial Day

William Brownrigg installs flag holders for more than 450 veterans’ graves at Alpine Cemetery in time for Memorial Day.

With just over a week left be­fore Memorial Day ceremonies, community members have tak­en it upon themselves to solve keep American flags flying over veterans’ graves at Alpine Cem­etery.

The hard,-packed earth found here in the arid climate of East County prevents the flags from being pushed far enough into the ground for them to stand up against the wind.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #9578 Quartermaster Carl Silva said he typically enlists the help of volunteers to hand-drill the ground at veteran plots annual­ly, just prior to Memorial Day so that the graves can be adorned with the flag for the holiday.

However, Silva said it is a makeshift solution which has needed addressing for years.

In answer to that call, commu­nity volunteer William Brown­rigg has committed himself to installing permanent flag hold­ers at every grave prior to Me­morial Day this year.

Brownrigg could be seen go­ing through the cemetery on Monday morning to confirm that no veteran was overlooked. As he kneeled at each grave, Brownrigg wiped off individual headstones and gently tapped a flag holder at the head of each plot.

Brownrigg estimates that it takes about an hour to install flag holders for every 10 graves but said that he has been mov­ing quickly to ensure that they are all in place for Memorial Day.

According to Bob Duck, man­ager of Alpine Cemetery, there are more than 450 veterans who lay in eternal rest at the site;

Brownrigg and Silva have ma­ny days of work invested on this community project. Still, Brownrigg insists that the number of hours spent on the project is immaterial to him because he is invested in see­ing the project through to com­pletion.

“I didn’t have the opportunity to serve but I think it is impor­tant to honor those who did,” Brownrigg said.

He is also quick to point out that the weary and faded flags piled high in a container at the cemetery are slated for transport up to the VFW post for proper and final retirement through cremation or burial.

Duck explained that the cem­etery dates back to the 1800s and is currently governed by a Board of Directors but does not have a solitary owner.

Veterans’ graves improved prior to Memorial Day

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