, Newburyport, MA


June 20, 2013

An apology for not decorating some veterans' graves

To the editor:

In a letter to the editor on June 12, “Veterans’ graves forgotten again,” Gage Kelly of Newbury laments that two graves in Newburyport were omitted in this year’s Memorial Day observance. She thinks it’s a shame and a dishonor that any veteran’s grave is not decorated with a flag.

I agree with her. I’m responsible for placing the flags on the veterans’ graves, and I am upset to hear we missed honoring a veteran’s service.

This year we placed flags on over 5,000 graves in Newburyport, Newbury and Amesbury with the help of volunteers.

Other than the cost of the flags, not one dime of taxpayers’ money was spent on placing flags on those graves. It was, and continues to be, an entirely volunteer effort.

I encourage Ms. Kelly to join us as a volunteer next year, or she could visit my office and receive flags she could place herself. If we’re missing these particular graves as regularly as Ms. Kelly asserts, she’s the best one to solve the problem.

Finding veteran plaques in cemeteries seems easy when you know where they are. When you are a volunteer placing hundreds of flags in one day, some graves are missed. My apologies to those we miss each year. It’s unavoidable. And a very special thank-you to all the volunteers who honor the veterans each year: The Nock School seventh-graders, the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Brownies, Daisies and adults who get a special enjoyment from this task.

You do a marvelous job, and the “thank yous” received far outweigh the very rare grumble.

Kevin Hunt

Veterans’ officer, Newburyport

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