Vet graveside flags tattered and torn

March 19, 2009 3:42:08 PM PDT
It's a matter of honor for Lehigh Valley veterans as tattered American flags accompany the graves of those who have served our country.Mark Queen is disturbed by the condition of the 700 military veterans' graveside flags in Lehigh County's Union Cemetery.

Queen, a retired Army veteran and local American Legion district commander, works to make sure burial grounds are places of dignity for those like Robbie Best, who died in battle during WWII and his brother, a WWII vet who died last year.

The 12 by 18 inch flags, worn down by the elements, are changed yearly by the Lehigh County after they are worn down by the elements.

Queen has lead a push to get the county to replace them twice a year, on Memorial and Veterans Day, to preserve them better.

With 32,000 graves in 96 cemeteries across the county, twice yearly flag changes would double the $20,000 cost of military gravesite flags.

It's a proposed expenditure the county executive supports.

The county already offers thousands in dollars in property tax rebates to active military members.

"The $20,000 is a small amount of money to do the right thing to honor the folks who've given so much to this country," Lehigh County Executive Don Cunningham said.

Next week, the county will likely approve spending money to change veterans' cemetery flags twice a year.

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