The program has now been adopted by many organizations and involves the regular serving, retired, cadets and families as well of many organizations across the country and is now known as the Flags Across the Nation program.
This year, on 5 November the local branch of the CG swept across the fields of St Elizabeths Cemetery and placed these flags at the graves of past CG members and veterans alike. This is the first time the activity was extended to this cemetery. The flags were donated by funds supplied by Telephonics, a leader in the defence industry. I wish had been there to see it. I was on site just five days earlier to see the Joseph Noil grave.
In addition to planting the flags, the Coast Guard has also contributed considerable time volunteering to help with the cleanup of the cemetery over recent months and their efforts as well as the cemetery staff's and professional to address tree pruning etc is most evident.
The service strip has been around almost forever. It started back in the days of George Washington who created a bill for the recognition of his troops back in 1782. That bill called for the awarding of STRIPS of cloth, one for ever 3 years of honourable service. That same bill authorized two other things, one of these he called a Badge of Merit. It would become purple in color and in the shape of the heart. The Purple Heart of today which is NOT THE LONGEST SERVING badge of recognition in the US services. (It was discontinued for years.) That honour goes to this very STRIP now called a service STRIPE or hash mark. (Some branches of service issue it for 3 yrs, the CG for 4)
At lower left is the grave marker for the fellow thought to be the recipient of a Medal of Honor. This has been recently challenged as that recipient may well be buried elsewhere. NOIL is possibly the only MOH recipient on site.
Ironic that the fellow who may not be a recipient has a MOH marker, and the one that is verified as a recipient is not marked, though such is in the works, as noted in past columns.
You can see how close they are to St Elizabeths cemetery.
More on this facility on Wednesday.