A Memorial service: Volunteers vonor veterans

This Memorial Day weekend, several Americans gather to honor veterans who served our country.  A very notable service is honoring those with an American flag, quite commonly seen at cemeteries on the resting places of veterans.

The River Valley Memorial Gardens in West Dundee is no exception.  Every year, the cemetery’s volunteers honor their passed veterans by placing a flag on their graves.  This year’s Memorial Day will mark their 50th anniversary of this tradition.

The cemetery is a division of Haeger Industries Inc., along with Haeger Potteries of East Dundee.  Haeger Industries accounting manager Diane Otteman says, “Years back, the veterans brought the flags to the cemetery.  Now that so many veterans are gone, volunteers have to fill the gap.”

According to volunteers, 542 veterans were buried at the cemetery in 1995 and has nearly doubled in size since then.

The cemetery’s associate Carol Francis, who has helped place flags for the past five years, appreciates the hard work put into honoring veterans.  “It always looks so wonderful when the flags are up,” Francis comments.

Many residents from neighborhoods such as East Dundee, West Dundee, and Elgin have volunteered to honor many veterans including close family members and loved ones.  Eleanor Mamayek of West Dundee places flags for the first time this year.

“It’s the least I can do to remember the veterans for what they have done for us,” Mamayek said.  “It’s sad when we have wars and lose so many of our people.  This is my thanks to each and every one of them.  I’m free today because of them.  I thank them for keeping me free.”