Taylor County residents plan Memorial Day flag-planting despite national cancellation

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TAYLOR COUNTY, W.Va (WDTV) -- Monday, many will honor military members who have died.

Cemetery staff say you are still able to visit the cemetery and place flags.

But amid the coronavirus pandemic, national cemeteries like the one in Grafton will be changing their remembrance.

Traditionally, staff offer flags for visitors to plant on the graves of veterans. But this year, those memorials have been cancelled.

"The nature of that was it drew crowds of people. So, the guidance this year was to not organize those events," said West Virginia National Cemetery director Keith Barnes.

He says you can still visit graves, but the cemetery will not be sponsoring the traditional events.

"People are free to go ahead and place flags at the graves if they would like to for family members or other people that they know. People are free to visit, we were just unable to organize an event," said Barnes.

But some Taylor County residents are undeterred by the cancellation. They will still honor the tradition.

On Friday they crowdfunded $5,400 to pay for flags to place at the graves.

"Our community is a small community, but when something like that happens we do come together and make things happen," said Dawn Larew, a Taylor County resident.

Larew and her sister-in-law began placing flags in the Grafton National Cemetery Friday morning. She says they plan to return Sunday to place the remaining flags.

"I believe these soldiers deserve a lot more respect than not placing the flag,"

Barnes says the cemetery will hold a virtual ceremony on Monday to honor Memorial Day.