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Marine organizes flag placement for Memorial Day after COVID cancels event

Posted at 6:08 PM, May 23, 2020

Several Memorial Day flag placements were officially put on hold because of the coronavirus and the governor’s stay-at-home order.

But that’s not stopping people from doing things on their own to honor the fallen.

“We had family and friends and stuff that were in the military and I always just had a lot of respect for it,” said Richland resident David Bacon.

He wanted to be a Marine for as long as he can remember. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps right after high school.

“We were the first wave over in Iraq when the whole invasion went down,” he said.

He left the service in 2004 and just like the unofficial motto, he’s learned to improvise, adapt and overcome.

“I asked if staff were going to be placing them and they said no flags were going out,” he told FOX 17 on Saturday.

For the last six years Bacon has visited Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta. When the location announced it would not be having an official flag placement ceremony for Memorial Day because of COVID, he did something about it.

“Soldiers and military deserve this,” he said. “It’s very rewarding and it’s nice to be able to, you know, pay respect to the fallen and the brothers and sisters that gave their lives.”

He quickly ordered 500 flags and decided he would go out and place them on his own. Then he shared his idea on Facebook.

“I made a post and said if anybody wants to help place the 500 that I got, you’re more than welcome to come help - really quick it took off and people were like ‘hey can I send in more flags’ and it kinda just took off from there.”

He now has thousands of flags ready to go. After the Facebook post people reached out pledging even more. They also said they’ll show up on site to help put them out.

“And there’s another group that’s getting there around 11 and they’ve got about 24,000-25,000,” said Bacon, “so with what they have and what I have - we should be good to cover every single site there."

There are roughly 38,000 gravesites within the cemetery. Those who attend are being asked to wear masks or practice social distancing.

“And Fort Custer is 770 acres, I mean there’s plenty of room for social distancing there so I don’t imagine it’d be a problem.”

David says he’ll be meeting in “Section H” Sunday morning at 9. The flags will be in the back of his truck for people to grab and place.

“It was just overwhelming with the amount of people that wanted to help and take part in this it just feels really good,” said Bacon. “I mean, it’s nice to see everybody coming together especially with what’s going on right now, it’s important to have something like this.”

A GoFundMe page for the flags raised more than $1,500. Whatever is not used will be donated to a veteran’s organization.

If you'd like to help the group collect the flags, they'll be doing that on Sunday, May 31st, around 12PM.