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Flags of Honor returning

Opening ceremony at 6 p.m. Friday

 

For the past several years, hundreds of American flags have dotted the grassy field beside the Ironton Hills Plaza during Rally on the River.

This year, the Ohio Flags of Honor will be placed just in time to celebrate the Memorial Day weekend.

Ted Riedel, American Legion member, first saw the display years ago in Maysville, and was the one who first applied for Ironton to be a host to the traveling memorial dedicated to honoring Ohio soldiers lost in war since Sept. 11.

“It was just a beautiful sight,” Riedel said. “It took about a year to get them to come.”

This will be the fifth year the Ohio Flags of Honor have come to Ironton, and the first year to be displayed during the Memorial Day weekend.

This year’s display is sponsored by the Blue Knights KY VIII.

John Bob Linn, member of the Blue Knights, said in an effort to keep attendance high at the memorial, it was decided to get the flags for Lawrence Count’s most patriotic holiday.

“We decided to take it on for Memorial Day weekend with Ted’s assistance,” Linn said.

The memorial travels all over the state and displays 10-foot tall “flags of honor” with the name of each military man and woman written on it who has died since 9/11, and hundreds more “tribute flags” that are sponsored by families, individuals, businesses and veterans organizations.

Opening ceremonies will be at 6 p.m. Friday. Speakers will be Ironton Mayor Rich Blankenship and Ret. Lt. Col. Scott Evans.

Following remarks, volunteers will be need to help place the 297 flags which represent each Ohio solider lost in war. Those who volunteer will read the names aloud and place the flags in the field.

Riedel and Linn also said volunteers are needed during the day on Friday to place the surrounding support flags. There will be more than 750 flags total, they said.

Once the flags are placed, visitors are encouraged to walk through the display and read the names.

“The more people come out and visit, the better chance we have that they will come back,” Riedel said.

Closing ceremonies will be Monday following the parade and volunteers are also needed to take down the flags.