community volunteers place flags on graves at Fraternal Cemetery | News, Sports, Jobs
BELINGTON – To celebrate Memorial Day, around 100 volunteers recently visited the Fraternal Cemetery to place American flags on the graves of many Barbour County veterans who helped defend the United States of America.
Philippi native and American Marine Bernie Corley helped organize the rally.
“My whole family served in the army, I don’t want it to be about me” said Corley. “I would like to focus on honoring those who have passed away. Whether they served in peacetime or wartime, they all deserve our respect and gratitude.
“To serve your country is a noble and honorable act, to sacrifice and give so much for a greater cause. I’m proud to have served but I’m even more proud of those who served and who came before me, that’s why I do what I do. I don’t want their sacrifices to be forgotten.
Corley said there has been a huge turnout in the annual tradition.
“I would like to thank everyone who came to pay tribute to our local veterans”, he said. “We had an excellent participation, many others were present who did not make the image. I would say we had close to 100 volunteers who showed up.
“This is my third year as the Commander of Post 410 (VFW) and it has been by far the most humbling experience to date. I can’t thank Nick, Marcus, Patty and Angela enough for bringing your kids out. said Corley.
Veterans of the military, Boy Scout troops, individuals and members of the PBHS football team were all on the field to help raise the American flags.
“We couldn’t have a public event last year and wanted to make it special this year.” said Corley. “I posted a message on social media asking for volunteers. I thought this would be a great opportunity for our kids to learn more about service and sacrifice so I challenged the coaches in the area a bit.
“Nick (Mayle) immediately jumped at the chance and told me he wanted his boys to be involved. Things developed from there, the post was shared, and my phone exploded with interest from people across the community.
“It’s my goal to expand this event to more cemeteries in the county if we can maintain this level of commitment and volunteerism, there’s no reason we can’t.” he said.
Corley also spoke of the beauty there is when an area is draped with the American flag in celebration.
“This event is in conjunction with our Memorial Day ceremony which will take place this Monday at 11 am, we have a lot to do next week”, he added.
“Last Sunday we attempted to place a flag on the grave of every veteran in the cemetery. If we missed anyone, we are so sorry. This Saturday 29th VFW and the American Legion Post 96 will be placing dozens of American flags on 20 foot flag poles lining the roads throughout the cemetery (Belington area Fraternal).
“It sure looks awesome once it’s all over. On Monday VFW Post 410, American Legion Post 96 and VFW Auxiliary will hold a cemetery ceremony, wreaths will be laid for each branch of the military.
“The names of all veterans buried in this cemetery will be read. The American Legion Honor Guard will fire a salvo and shots will be fired. Immediately after the ceremony, VFW post 410 auxiliary will organize a picnic at VFW Park in Belington. The park is located near Crab Bottom, along the banks of the Tygart River. The whole community is welcome. “