Honoring Veterans

Flag Flying for Veterans at This Nation's Heart... - AppraisersBlogsWhether or not there’s a flag flying at your place of rest, there’s a flag flying for you at this nation’s heart.


I received the message below from an appraiser who lives near this cemetery in north-central WA State.

It’s worthy of your read, and to remember the sacrifice veterans have made in service to our country.

I’d like to add that the “Key Club” is a youth organization sponsored by Kiwanis International, with local Kiwanis clubs around the US being mentors to the high school age members who belong to Key Club. I was a Kiwanis member for 27 years, and served in the Air Force just after high school.

Dave Towne


A drab, overcast, pre-winter day. Perfect for a visit to the cemetery. I prefer to go when I suspect no one else will be there. I like solitude as I visit my husband’s (and someday my) gravesite. We’d chosen this spot on the edge of the Okanogan Cemetery because of its expansive view of the valley, river and mountains. I also enjoy walking my dogs along the cemetery lanes when I know they won’t be bothering other visitors or mourners.

So I was there earlier this week. I’d just conscientiously “bagged” the dogs’ deposits (thank you, City of Okanogan, for providing a garbage can) when a caravan of cars arrived. Uh-oh, I thought. A funeral. I hustled my dogs into the car and was preparing to leave quietly when I turned to see a bevy of teen-agers fanning out among the graves. Turns out it was the Okanogan High School Key Club putting flags on graves for the upcoming Veterans Day observance.

At last, an opportunity to resolve something that had been vexing me for ten years, since my husband died. I approached Dennis O’Connor, Key Club advisor, and asked how the kids knew at which graves to place a flag.

“Is there a list?” I asked.

No list, he answered. The kids read every grave marker, looking for indications of military service.

“That’s all we have to go by,” he said, acknowledging that veterans whose service is not recorded on the head stone don’t get a flag. He’s heard that some people get upset over that.

Guilty as charged. Well, not upset exactly. More like mystified. My husband had served in the U.S. Navy Reserve, photographer’s mate. That was long before we were married, and I didn’t know much about it. It never occurred to me to put it on our small, rather simple gravestone. Our family did receive a flag from the American Legion when John died, so I knew there was some official record somewhere. But on Veterans Day or Memorial Day, there’d be no flag at his grave. I knew he would’ve liked his grave to be among those with flags fluttering. I wasn’t sure who to call to get his name on what I imagined to be a list. Then I’d forget about it until the next Memorial or Veterans Day.

When I began to explain all this to Dennis, he immediately handed me a flag. I felt honored to poke it into the earth by John’s headstone. John would’ve been pleased. What would’ve pleased him even more was the sight of those kids, stooping to read every headstone, sometimes having to scrape away leaves, dirt and dried grass, searching for veterans.

Happy Veterans day, John, and all who served. Whether or not there’s a flag flying at your place of rest, there’s a flag flying for you at this nation’s heart.

And just when I’d been needing reassurance, those kids were a reminder that our nation indeed has a heart.

Dave Towne
Dave Towne

Dave Towne

AGA, MNAA, Accredited Green Appraiser - Licensed in WA State since 2003. Dave Towne on e-AppraisersDirectory.com

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3 Responses

  1. Avatar Carl says:

    Paying tribute to those who fought for our country. Gob bless America!

  2. Avatar BigAl says:

    All gave some and some gave all !!! Thank you to all of the service men and women of these United States of America…

  3. Than you for your service ‘John’, and all the other John’s out there still living, or resting in well earned peace.

    Whether of my father’s generation (WWII & Korea); or Vietnam Era Vets of my own generation, to younger vets of  Grenada to Lebanon; Africa, Iraq I and Iraq II, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and it’s border and all over the world where United States Armed Forces serve ever ready to risk giving the last full measure of service.

    You hold a special place in our hearts. We respect and appreciate your service. Some of us know the intense boredom, and overcome discomfort of walking remote solitary guard posts in snow, heat, rain and cold. Missed holidays with loved ones. Missed babies births and birthdays of family. The loneliness, coupled with wondering whether anyone in Congress truly cares anymore or whether your service has become a pawn of political convenience. We whom you serve thank you with all our hearts.

    Others know the  fear in combat to be overcome; the pain of horrific injury and disfigurement and the loss of loved comrades. We share your loss in our hearts even when we see you and are at a loss for words other than to say “Thank you.”

    To those that have fallen, and their families we remember your ‘John’ & ‘Jane’ too. Remembered with gratitude and honor. Thank you.


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Honoring Veterans

by Dave Towne time to read: 3 min