01/23/13 — American Legion in Pikeville starts project at cemetery

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American Legion in Pikeville starts project at cemetery

By Steve Herring
Published in News on January 23, 2013 1:46 PM

PIKEVILLE -- No one can remember the last time Old Glory flew over the Pikeville Cemetery, but the flagpole's halyard (rope) has dry rotted, says James Carter, Pikeville American Legion Post 541 commander.

And while at least 86 veterans are known to be buried there, it is difficult to identify the graves, he said.

Also as far as anyone knows, unless it has been done by family, in the past, no one has put down flags in observance of Veterans Day or Memorial Day, he said.

All are issues that Post 541 members hope to address to pay tribute to the veterans.

Carter already has been before the town board to talk about what post members want to do. The board gave its blessing, he said.

The Woodmen of the World has given a U.S. flag to the post. But before it can fly, the halyard will have to be replaced, a project Carter is working on.

Also, to observe proper flag etiquette, a light will have to be added to illuminate the flag at night.

Carter has approached a local company about providing a solar-powered light.

He also hopes to have someone donate small flags that can be placed at veterans' graves and small all-weather decals that can be affixed to the tombstones.

The decals will make it easier to identify the graves so that the flags can be placed on them during special occasions, Carter said.

Walmart also has made a $500 donation to the post, he said.

"We hope to have a special ceremony to raise the flag," Carter said. "We want the National Guard or Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Color Guard to unfold and raise the flag."

Carter isn't sure when that will happen, but thinks it will be either late next month or late March.

It is just one way that the post, which is less than two years old, wants to participate in the community, he said.

Just recently members provided candy, fruit baskets and military pins for veterans who are residents at Country Side Village.

The four veterans suffer from memory problems or Alzheimer's disease. Carter said they had been told beforehand not to expect much reaction from the veterans.

However, Carter said he, post members and facility staff were surprised and pleased when the veterans did respond.

The post members meet on the third Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. at the Pikeville Community Center. Veterans are invited, and are encouraged to join the organization.