Using official casket flags donated by veteran’s families, the American Legion Post 184 debuted its "Avenue of Flags" at Chestnut Grove Cemetery in Herndon on Memorial Day. It was the first time the local legion branch, which represents veterans in Herndon and Reston, was able to display the flags. More than 600 veterans from the Civil War to the Gulf War are buried at Chestnut Grove, Herb Nunnenkamp, the commander of the Herndon-Reston Post 184, said.
Del. Tom Rust (R-86) was on hand to mark the second Memorial Day since Sept. 11, 2001 and the first since the war with Iraq. Rust reminded the crowd that included veterans, widows of veterans and high-school students, that the war against terrorism did not end with the end of the war with Iraq. "One U.S. soldier has died each day since the fall of Baghdad," Rust said in his tribute to soldiers and veterans. "We must follow their example because they gave the ultimate sacrifice and they wouldn’t want that sacrifice to be in vain."
Rust said he is reminded every time he drives past the Pentagon that the United States is still "vulnerable."
"As these vets standing here know, freedom is not free and we pay that price everyday," the delegate said. "We will never forget."
The casket flags will be displayed each Memorial Day and Veterans Day, weather permitting, legion representatives said. Families who wish to memorialize a veteran on the Avenue of Flags, and those who want to add an interred veteran at Chestnut Grove to the Legion’s Veteran Grave Register, should contact Legionnaire Doug Swisher, the project chairman, at 703-435-9340, or by e-mail at Hrizns@aol.com.