The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 24, 2013

Families, friends invited to honor veterans with flags this weekend

From staff reports

JOPLIN, Mo. — Small lengths of plastic pipe have been installed behind the headstones of veterans graves in Joplin cemeteries so that every veteran will have a flag on Memorial Day.

Howard Spiva, commander of American Legion Post No. 13, said they worked with the city to provide the  pipe and the flags that are traditionally placed on the graves for Memorial Day.

Joplin cemeteries are Forest Park Cemetery near Range Line Road and Fourth Street; Fairview Cemetery, near 13th Street and Maiden Lane; and Parkway and Osborne cemeteries, in the 3300 block of McClelland Boulevard.

“People who have a special flag they want to use may put it in the flag holder. Anybody who wants to put a flag on a veteran’s grave is encouraged to do that because we want every veteran to have a flag,” Spiva said.

He said the pipe was installed because it is sometimes difficult to stick each flag’s wooden staff into the bare ground without breaking it. A retired plumber recommended using PVC pipe to hold the flags and to provide a better way to display them. The legion provides and distributes about 500 flags a year in Joplin.

Flags for veterans also are available in the office of privately-owned Ozark Memorial Park Cemetery at St. Louis and Langston-Hughes Broadway, Spiva said.

The city-owned cemeteries are open dawn to dusk. Memorial Day decorations are removed the Monday following the holiday except those in permanent vases or on shepherd’s hooks.