By Ray Lenarcic

When I was seven, I went for a walk with my grandmother through Church Street Cemetery. As I recall, it was a glorious, sunny day in early May, and the lilacs were still in bloom. Adding cherry blossoms, lilies of the valley, irises, and hyacinths to the mix made the panorama breathtaking. As I continued to slowly walk, I noticed here and there small flags, American flags. I asked Gram why they were there, and she answered, “To honor our past veterans.” Over the years, when driving by or visiting area cemeteries throughout the year, I was reminded of that day in May every time I saw the small flags fluttering in the breeze.

I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to help Coalition Director Ron Schoonmaker (“Nam vet lovingly referred to as “the flag man”) place flags every May in Herkimer’s cemeteries and grateful that our organization could help finance his project. And speaking of financing, the Little Falls American Legion needs some help by April 1st or those beautiful red, white and blues won’t be fronting veterans’ headstones. This year, the Herkimer County Hunger Coalition will be making a donation, along with the Greater Herkimer Lions Club. And in the memory of my uncles (the Van Slykes) who rest in peace in Church Street, Kay and I will as well. We’re asking you, the readers, to join us in making a donation to help ensure that the Legion and volunteers will be able to continue this annual and revered tradition. You can make your check out to -Little Falls American Legion 31 -100 W. Main St.-Little Falls, N.Y.-13365

I look forward to retracing the steps I took with Gram 75 years ago-enjoying nature’s beauty and thanks to your generosity, a cemetery resplendent with the red, white and blue.