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Volunteers get cemetery ready for Memorial Day

May 15, 2012
By GARRETT NEESE , Houghton Daily Mining Gazette

HOUGHTON - In advance of Memorial Day, community groups placed almost 1,300 flags over the weekend on the graves of Copper Country veterans at Forest Hill Cemetery in Houghton.

The Marine Corps League has undertaken the project for the past decade, said Paul Smigowski of Keweenaw Detachment 1016.

About 70 volunteers from Reserve Officer Training Corps, Junior ROTC, Michigan Tech University Volunteers Club, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Good Will Farm and the MCL placed flags by 1,290 graves Saturday morning.

Article Photos

Quinn Aho, 7, of Chassell, puts a flag by the grave of a veteran at Forest Hill Cemetery in Houghton on Saturday. The Marine Corps League provided 1,290 flags for veterans’ graves, and about 70 volunteers took part in the day’s activities. (Daily Mining Gazette photo by Garrett Neese)

"I think the big thing is for the younger kids, Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts," Smigowski said. "You've got a little bit of personal involvement of remembering the veterans of the past years, of realizing there's a lot of people they may not know were veterans, but in fact did serve their country. They come home, go back into civilian life and don't make a big deal they were veterans."

By 10 a.m., three students at the Good Will Farm had only four of their original 50 flags left.

"I like helping out the military," said Daniel Hull. "I plan on going into the military."

Quinn Aho, 7, of Chassell, was placing flags with his fellow members of Cub Scout Troop 201.

"I get to do good activities," he said.

Once they were done, the volunteers had grilled hot dogs from Vollwerth's and Seeburg Vending and reflected on a job well done.

"A lot of the plots have enough flag density in it, that they can stand back and say, 'We did this,'" Smigowski said.



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