Avenue of Flags has deeper meaning

The Cape Girardeau County Avenue of Flags is a beautiful and patriotic tribute.

On certain holidays, you can't help but notice the star-spangled row of banners that lines the road at Cape Girardeau County Park North. But the story of the flags goes a bit deeper than a visual display celebrating the country on holidays.

Did you know the story behind the flags?

Each flag, and there are more than 450 of them, are posted in honor of a deceased Cape Girardeau County veteran. Some of them are the same flags that draped over coffins.

As a recent Southeast Missourian article pointed out, the Avenue of Flags is a coordinated effort between VFW Post 3838 in Cape Girardeau and Cape Girardeau County. Volunteers from the FVW, local churches and service programs come out on five holidays per year to help set up and take down the flags.

"If they see the flags, they might think, 'Yeah, they're nice and pretty," said VFW Post commander Joe Wolsey. "But those aren't ordinary flags."

The avenue is becoming more widely known. It's even been seen in a music video from pop artist Rihanna.

The program is made possible by donations. In addition to the donated flags and the time people give to erect them, financial donations are also needed to help take care of the flags and replace them as needed.

The flags' chairman, David Cantrell, and others hope the flag display can be expanded to include a memorial stone that will feature the story of the avenue, along with benches for visitors coming to pay respects.

Those who have questions about the Avenue of Flags or the flag program are encouraged to reach out to the VFW by emailing vfwpost3838@yahoo.com or stopping by its location at 1049 N. Kingshighway. VFW representatives also will have an informational tent at the avenue display today to answer questions.

We hope the next time you see the avenue of flags, you don't just appreciate the beauty of the banners waving, but take time to remember and honor each of the veterans whom those flags represent.