ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — A large crowd of volunteers, family, active and retired military placed American flags at the headstones of every veteran laid to rest in the Texas State Veterans Cemetery in an annual ceremony Friday evening.
Jimmy Defoor, caretaker of the cemetery said the tradition has taken place every year the cemetery has been in operation.
“It started about ten years ago,” said Defoor.
Defoor said he was delighted at the large turnout, especially by the numerous active military members in attendance.
“You can look around here and see all the military that have shown up,” said Defoor.
CJ Oakley was among the ranks of retired military members placing flags at the grave sites of those they fought alongside, he placed a flag at the headstone of his best friend Earl Greene who died from heart complications a little over a year ago.
“We were just two jokesters in the military. We at first were pitted against each other but eventually fell in love, in a guy way,” said Oakley.
Oakley also placed flags at the headstone of Earl’s parents Ralph and Barbara Greene who are also buried in the cemetery.
“I just wasn’t sure if there would be enough people. I just didn’t know but I did get a flag on all three of them,” said Oakley.
There were more than enough people to set out flags though, so many so it brought tears to the veteran’s eyes.
“My heart is just so overwhelmed I’m about to cry. It’s just so amazing. It’s just seeing this many people and so fast, and people handing out flags. I have an extra flag. I just can’t believe that,” said Oakley.