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Hundreds of volunteers help plant thousands of flags ahead of Memorial Day at the Mighty Eighth

Flags for the Fallen honors those killed in the Mighty Eighth during World War II
Volunteers help set up "Flags for the Fallen"
Volunteers help set up "Flags for the Fallen"(Sam Bauman WTOC)
Updated: May. 25, 2021 at 4:29 PM EDT
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POOLER, Ga. (WTOC) - On Tuesday hundreds of volunteers were at the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force in Pooler to help set up a powerful display. They placed a flag for every life lost in the Mighty Eighth during World War II.

“Each one of these flags represents a body, represents a family, represents an individual,” says Mighty Eighth Board of Trustee Brent Bracewell.

Twenty-six thousand members of the Mighty Eighth Air Force lost their lives during World War II and that’s how many flags are being planted in the Memorial Garden of the Mighty Eighth Museum.

“We’re trying to do that to recognize those 26,000 airmen. So, that when people come out here, they see a sea of flags,” said Bracewell.

Of course, for this sea to make waves it would first need a drop of support, something it seems the Mighty Eighth is overflowing with.

“When they called and said they needed help again, we all came down. So there’s quite a few of us,” said Linda Noll who drove from Hardeeville to volunteer along with roughly 200 others.

“It’s just overwhelming. It’s hot but people are smiling. They’re enjoying what they’re doing,” Bracewell says.

But to these volunteers the heat was never an issue.

“We’re veterans, we’ve had harder days,” said James Putney, volunteering with American Legion Post 500.

Because what they’re doing represents something much bigger than themselves.

“I remember what it was like and I survived, a lot of guys didn’t. So, at least you can do something to help remember the people that didn’t survive,” said veteran Ron Franczyk.

Volunteers are finding a way to thank them for what they gave to us.

“The freedom we have today is because of these individuals back then,” said Travis Chapin who flew in from Ohio to volunteer.

They remember their sacrifice by giving a little of ourselves to honor those who gave all for us.

“Memorial Day to so many people is just another day, but when you actually come out and see the names on the walls, see the flags that’s been placed in honor of those that died, it has a different effect on you. It gives you a little more understanding as to why veterans do what veterans do,” said Putney.

The Mighty Eighth will have events in honor of Memorial Day starting this Thursday and running through Monday. They also say they plan on making “Flags for the Fallen” an annual event. For more information, click here.

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