Volunteers Needed to Remove Memorial Day Flags at National Cemetery

CCB MEDIA PHOTO: Volunteers placing flags during Operation Flags for Vets at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne in 2016.

BOURNE – Volunteers are needed to help remove the 77,000 American flags that were placed at the Massachusetts National Cemetery for Memorial Day.

The flags were placed last weekend as part of Operation Flags for Vets, an all-volunteer effort to honor the veterans buried at the grounds in Bourne.

The flag removal starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

Organizer Paul Monti places the flags every Memorial Day and Veterans Day in memory of his son, SFC Jared Monti, who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2006 and the recipient of the Medal of Honor.

“I’m on my 12th year of losing him now and it’s just like yesterday,” Monti said.

Jared was killed on his third attempt to rescue a fellow serviceman who was wounded.

Monti went to honor his son on Veterans Day of that year with a flag at his gravestone at the cemetery and was surprised to see no flags were planted at the cemetery.

He talked with an administrator of the facility to find out why, as all veterans graves require flags on Veterans Day under state law.

“I was told that flags were not allowed that I was not in Massachusetts I was standing on federal ground,” Monti said. “And their rule was no flags on the graves because they interfered with maintenance of the cemetery.”

That did not sit well with Monti, who spent more than four years pursuing a change of legislation to allow flags on Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

After four and a half years Monti received a letter giving permission to flag all the graves provided that his organization buy, place, remove and store all the flags.

Monti said Jared would be proud of the work he has done with Operation Flags for Vets to honor those who have served.

“He’s probably looking down at dear old dad saying, ‘Dad, you did a good thing,’” Monti said.

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