Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

May 23, 2013

Cadets honor veterans by placing flags

ASHLAND — On their final full day of school for the year, nearly 40 Russell High School students decided they could best spend their time placing American flags upon the graves of local veterans buried at Rose Hill Cemetery.

The students, 39 cadets from the schools Air Force JROTC program, were greeted by a beautiful morning with sunny skies and a light breeze, which made each small flag snap to attention as the teams of two and three made a hole, planted a flag and stepped back before issuing a slow and respectful salute.

Sophomores Laney Blevins, Bradley Scurlock and Samuel Roberts were among those who teamed up to get as many flags as possible on veteran’s final resting places Wednesday morning.

“We really haven’t kept count but I know we’ve planted a lot of flags,” Blevins said, affirming she felt a sense of purpose from the morning’s mission. “We’re just here to honor these thousands and millions of veterans. It is an honor just to honor them.”

Freshman Marilyn Wessel said the density of veterans buried at Rose Hill was surprising.

“I expected a couple of them here and a couple of them there, but it is more like probably every third one of them,” she said, later noting she was proud to be part of the student team planting 3,000 flags that morning and that her own father served in the Army as a chaplain’s assistant.

Cadets Ashley Stevens and Ashley Carey said the morning mission was bitter and sweet. Shortly after arriving, the girls said they noticed a couple of older ladies crying at a grave, although the effort to salute veterans made them both ready to volunteer for the task again next year.

“It’s a neat experience. It’s kind of like helping out the community,” Stevens said.

Cadet C.J. Martin, who will serve as commander of the AFJROTC at Russell High School next year, recalled helping with the flag planting during his freshman year and added he was pleased to see high school students doing the labor-intensive job rather than leaving it to older veterans who often face health problems.

“We can do all of it in two-and-a-half hours. I did this my freshman year and realized some of the veterans can barely walk,” Martin said, adding his own regret that the veterans buried at Rose Hill only get a few hours of attention.

“All of these veterans deserve more than that,” he said. “If not for all of these vets, we would be speaking Japanese or Korean ... or German. We wouldn’t be speaking American.”

Col. Terry Maggard said he received a call from an Amvets representative seeking assistance with the flag planting and received immediate approval from the school’s principal, as well as authorization to use a school bus. There were more volunteers for the duty than he expected, Maggard said.

“I could not bring everybody that wanted to come. I am just very proud of these students who were willing to give up their last full day at school to do this,” he said. “They gladly gave up their time.”

Maggard said the AFJROTC cadets, who recently received a Distinguished Unit citation, which puts them in the top 25 percent of 867 schools, would likely finish flag planting in time to return to school for lunch that day.

“There’s no joking around while they do this,” he said, adding several of the students probably have relatives who were veterans buried within the cemetery.

Mike Wurts, an Army veteran who served from 1972 to 1975 and is now a member of the Amvets Post 95 in Greenup, said he had previously placed each of the flags himself but it was difficult and required a couple of days to complete. Watching the dozens of young cadets hustling from grave to grave, Wurts said he could not help being proud of them.

“That’s patriotism in action,” he said. “One of these days they will be putting a flag on my grave.”

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2651.

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • News in brief, 07/24/14

    A Fleming County man was arrested on sex charges Tuesday by the Kentucky State Police.

    July 23, 2014

  • Boyd/Greenup backpack program turns 10

    For 10 years, the Ashland Alliance Young Professionals Association has been helping children start their school year off right.

    July 23, 2014

  • Area water plants recognized

    Water treatment plants across the state were recognized for consistently producing drinking water in 2013 that exceeded state and federal water quality standards, including the Rattlesnake Ridge Water District in Olive Hill and six others.

    July 23, 2014

  • City gives wastewater treatment plant operations to Greenup agency

    During joint special meetings of the Greenup Joint Sewer Agency and the Wurtland city commission on Tuesday, Wurtland agreed to hand over operations of its wastewater treatment plant to the agency.
    Pending the signing and approval of certain legal documents, plant operations will officially be under the GJSA on Aug. 1.

    July 23, 2014

  • Edelen studies fiscal health of rural hospitals

    On the fourth stop of his listening tour to address the fiscal health of rural hospitals, Adam Edelen said the crowd in Morehead was the largest he has seen yet.
    The big attendance attests to how seriously the region regards the issue of sustainability of local hospitals, he said.

    July 23, 2014

  • Putnam renovations ‘coming together’ as football season approaches

    Locker rooms are beginning to take shape at Putnam Stadium as rebuilding of the venerable arena nears completion.
    Workers are readying concrete forms on the home side and grading the site on the visitors’ side and soon will erect the structures, the goal to have them ready to use for the first home game of the 2014 season Aug. 22.

    July 23, 2014

  • Huntington man wanted for armed robbery

    The Ashland Police Department is searching for an 18-year-old Huntington man who was involved in an armed robbery last month.

    July 23, 2014

  • Detroit man arrested near Fairview

    A Detroit man was arrested Wednesday after an undercover drug buy near Fairview High School, the Boyd County Sheriff's Department reported.

    July 23, 2014

  • 0724putnamwebshot.JPG Laying the foundation Workers are finishing the foundation for the locker room on the home side of Putnam Stadium on Tuesday. The Ashland Tomcats open the football season on Aug. 22 against Newport Catholic.

    July 23, 2014

  • Construction at Kentucky football stadium to go on

    The $110 million construction project at the University of Kentucky’s Commonwealth Stadium will continue through the upcoming football season with the goal of finishing renovations before the 2015 kickoff.

    July 23, 2014