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Lewiston Seeking Volunteers to Honor Deceased Veterans

 LEWISTON, ME (May 10, 2023) — The City of Lewiston annually helps to recruit volunteers to place nearly 7,500 flags at individual veterans’ gravestones within Lewiston cemeteries. As Memorial Day approaches, volunteers are again being sought. 

A 2001 Maine State law requires municipalities to purchase and place individual American flags at the gravestone of every veteran buried in respective town/city cemeteries for Memorial Day each year. Lewiston has 13 cemeteries, and community volunteers annually place nearly 7,500 flags. 

For many of the smaller cemeteries, abutting neighbors usually handle the annual flag placement. For the two largest cemeteries, Riverside and St. Peters, service organizations have historically adopted these cemeteries and undertake flag placement for the City of Lewiston. 

As such, for 2023, flag placement will occur as outlined below at Riverside Cemetery and St. Peters Cemetery, and the organizing groups welcome volunteers to assist them: 

Riverside Cemetery, 192 Summer Street, Lewiston Saturday, May 20, 2023, 9:00AM (rain or shine) 

The Knights of Columbus are the coordinators for this location. Contact is Leo Baillargeon at (207) 577-7424 

There are approximately 1,600 flags for this location. 

St. Peters Cemetery, 217 Switzerland Road, Lewiston Sunday, May 21, 2023, 10 AM (rain or shine) 

Meet at the Mausoleum, St. Peter’s Cemetery, Switzerland Road, Lewiston. 

The L/A Veterans Council are the coordinators for this location. Contact is Jerry Dewitt at (207) 576-0376 

There are approximately 4,000 flags for this location. The plan is to assign teams of 5-10 volunteers to an area of each cemetery and to cover the cemetery in a grid fashion in order to not miss any stone. If military service is listed on the stone, a flag will be placed there. 

Volunteers do not need to sign up in advance; they are welcome to show up on the date/time of the event and will be provided instructions by the on-site coordinator. The City of Lewiston is also noting the following helpful logistics for volunteers who participate. 

1) Work gloves are optional but encouraged. 

2) Volunteers may bring their own hand sanitizer. 

3) Wear sneakers or boots in case the grass is wet. 

4) Bring a screwdriver to poke a hole in the grass; it is much easier to place a flag’s wooden dowel into the ground if a hole is first made. 

5) Plan to bring a water bottle if it is a hot day. 

6) Bring bug spray, hat, and sunscreen. 

7) Be mindful of ticks. 

8) Children/youth are encouraged to participate but must be accompanied by an adult. 

9) Wearing company or organization t-shirts is welcome. 

Jerry Dewitt, on behalf of the L/A Veterans Council, expresses appreciation to volunteers for their efforts, “Thank you for your support of veterans to remember their service on Memorial Day.” Questions about the process may be directed to the Lewiston City Clerk’s Office (207) 513-3124, or volunteers may directly reach out to event coordinators.

 Nate Cheever, Lewiston building maintenance employee, helping to store flags at Lewiston City Hall in anticipation of placement.

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