MILTON — Dozens gathered Sunday morning at Harmony Cemetery, Milton, fanned out across the massive cemetery and did what has been done for years — replaced tattered and worn flags at the gravesites of veterans.

In the age of COVID-19, many are seeking a return to normal, and Sunday’s activities provided that for members of American Legion Post 71, Milton; Boy Scout Troop 605, Milton; and volunteers from First Presbyterian Church, Milton.

“We were going to do this regardless,” said Rick Divers, American Legion Post 71. “We honor the veterans. I served in Vietnam, and this is what we do.”

Over 1,000 flags were distributed for placement at veterans’ gravesites.

Phil Martin, a 22-year veteran of the Marine Corps and vice president of the Home Association, said he was honored to take part in Sunday’s placement of new flags.

“We have to honor of veterans,” he said. “It’s the least we can do.”

Cameron Crites, a member of Troop 605, has taken part in the annual event for five years.

“Whether for recreation or service, this keeps us focused on what used to be versus what is a new normal,” he said.

Members of American Legion Post 71 noted that on Memorial Day, members will salute fallen veterans with a firing ceremony. While there will be no formal ceremony with speakers, the firing salute will take place at Harmony, Milton, St. Joseph’s and the cemetery across from the high school. A salute is also scheduled in New Columbia.

Chris Brady is managing editor at The Standard-Journal and can be reached at chris@standard-journal.com.

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