Volunteers get cemetery ready for Veterans Day

By Jaime Dailey - bio | email

BEAUFORT, SC (WTOC) - They lined the hollow grounds with an avenue of flags for the annual Veteran's Day Ceremony.

"I think it's an honor to come out here and put the flags up for people who gave everything," said Bob Holmquist, of the Kiwanis Club of Beaufort.

"As a former Marine, I feel it's my duty to come out and honor my comrads that have fallen," said Chuck Rettig. "It's just an honor to be here to honor them."

Each one of the flags flying at the National Cemetery on Monday layed across the casket of a veteran.

"These aren't just off the shelf purchases, these are bought and payed for with blood," said organizer Ron Voegeli.

As a retired Marine, Voegeli knows the price of freedom and started the flag raising tradition more than 20 years ago as a way to give back to his fallen comrads.

"I came out here and the VA employees were having to put these flags up and I thought you know that's something I could get my group involved with," said Voegeli.

As each flag is raised, Voegeli is reminded of why this tradition is so important.

"This is the last kind of tribute we can do for our fallen veterans who gave their all for us," said Voegeli. "It makes me feel good in my heart, my soul. I just feel like I've given everything I can do to these guys because they gave it for us."

So when Voegeli found out he'd have to have surgery this week, he made this a priority, making sure he did his part.

"I wasn't going to miss it if I had anything to say about it," said Voegeli.

For Voegeli, it's a labor of love. For years, he has been advocating for veterans, serving in many capacities, including years with the Disabled American Veterans. Just recently he was elected National 4th Junior Vice Commander for the DAV, making sure those who served aren't forgotten.

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