Help Place Flags at Decatur Cemetery For Memorial Day

From Chris…

If you would like to help place flags and/or flowers on the graves or memorials in the Decatur Cemetery for those who were killed while serving in the military as part of your Memorial Day Weekend activities, please contact Chris Billingsley at [email protected] OR you can show up for any of the following:

  • Thursday, May 25, 5:00 P.M.  Place Flags On Graves- Meet at the Veteran’s Rock in the new cemetery (enter Church Street gate and drive to area above pond).
  • Sunday, May 28, 4:00 P.M. Place Flowers On Graves- Meet at same location described above, Veteran’s Rock.
  • Monday, May 29, 5:00 P.M.- Brief Remembrance Ceremony.  Afterwards we will pick up all flags and flowers from graves.

Photo courtesy of Chris

5 thoughts on “Help Place Flags at Decatur Cemetery For Memorial Day”


  1. Thanks again to Chris for spearheading this effort. The announcement notes that following the ceremony on Monday, all flowers and flags are to be picked up. Why so soon, or at all (especially with the flowers)?

    1. Thanks Thristen.
      My experience is that the roses only last about 24 hours. The flowers are fresh but they are usually placed on the monument. Many of the graves are in the direct sun for five hours. That stone heats up quick. One year we tried placing the flowers on Saturday but that didn’t work. Sunday has worked well.
      Everything is picked on Monday for several reasons. The Memorial Day Remembrance Ceremony is usually well attended, sometimes up to 30 people. The flags and flowers can be collected quickly and the volunteers can go home. We try to re-use the flags every year to keep expenses down. The flags take quite a beating from the sun and rain. They wouldn’t last year to year if we left them out longer than four days.
      When I started this program, I promised the city that we would remove all materials at the end of the holiday. This makes sense. Dead flowers and faded flags just don’t look right.
      This gives me the opportunity to encourage you and anyone else in the City of Decatur to volunteer and take over Flags and Flowers for next year. This is a great service project. It only takes one week of commitment. It’s easy to raise money for the materials. And you meet some great people who share a love for those who gave their all for our freedom.
      Please contact Ms. Merress or your commissioner if you are interested.
      God Bless “The Boys Of Decatur”, all service men and women and the United States of America.

  2. Thanks DM ,
    Those living in Decatur more than seven or eight years may be familiar with the memorial plaque in front of the high school listing all the Decatur students who gave their lives while serving in the military. The list contains the names of more than fifty young men, all not much older than teenagers except for one, “Donald Brooks, Class of 1934, Vietnam” This is Major Donald Ray Brooks who was killed in Vietnam in 1968 when the helicopter he was flying crashed while returning to base. Over the years, several people have asked me why someone so old was serving during the Vietnam War. I wondered that also until I finally tracked down part of the story when I visited his grave at the corner of Lawerenceville Highway and I285, just a few miles outside the City of Decatur. Brooks was born in 1931. That makes him part of the DHS Class of 1948 or 49. He is buried next to his parents close to the entrance of Floral Memorial Garden on the left. If you visit his grave this Memorial Day Weekend, you will see a flag and a red rose because Decatur does not forget those who sacrificed so much. (https://airforce.togetherweserved.com/usaf/servlet/tws.webapp.WebApp?cmd=ShadowBoxProfile&type=Person&ID=79700)
    The City of Decatur Memorial Day “Flags and Flowers” committee has greatly benefited from the support of the Friends of the Decatur Cemetery. Ms. Cathy Vogel recently sent me an email asking that I add a new name to our list of heroes. Buried near the road above the cemetery pond near a large inverted horseshoe like monument with a cross on the top is Pulaski Washington Englett, CSA, Died 1862 “… He Died In The Service Of His Country…”. We know very little about Englett. Ms Vogel thinks he may have died of an infection from a battlefield wound. He and two other Confederate soldiers will be honored with flags and flowers and respect Sunday evening and at the remembrance ceremony Monday at 5:00.
    A veteran Army commander once told me at Fort Benning that as Americans, we have the right to disagree with the war but we should always honor those who fought and died. We continue that tradition,.
    I want to thank City Manager Peggy Merriss, Assistant City Manager David Junger and Cemetery Grounds Manager Demetrius Whatley (a DHS grad) who made sure that all the grave sites were in good condition. I sent an email to Mr. Junger about the Rose and Callaway graves needing work and it was resolved in 24 hours. I’m sure the families of Matt Rose and Allan Callaway appreciate the extra care given to the sites. Just another example of how important the Memorial Day Weekend activities are to so many people.
    If you have followed my Memorial Day posts over the years, you will remember Charles Sharman, a DHS grad and Marine killed in Vietnam. For as long as I can remember, twenty years or more, I’ve seen a fresh Marine flag flying next to his grave. Unfortunately this flag is now in very poor condition. I’ve called a number of organizations about getting a new Marine flag for Sharman’s grave but no one can provide one. If anyone reading this post has a U.S. Marine flag (stick flag) or knows someone who can provide one, please send me an email at [email protected]. It would be fitting and proper to have a new flag in place for Monday’s ceremony because, like the U.S. Marines, we are always faithful to those who made the supreme sacrifice.
    Please attend the flower placement tomorrow at 4:00 and/or the closing ceremony Monday at 5:00. Thank you and God Bless Our Heroes, their families and the United States of America.

  3. Thanks Nick,
    Those living in Decatur more than seven or eight years may be familiar with the memorial plaque in front of the high school listing all Decatur students who gave their lives while serving in the military. The list contains the names of more than fifty young men, all not much older than teenagers except for one, “Donald Brooks, Class of 1934, Vietnam” This is Major Donald Ray Brooks who was killed in Vietnam in 1968 when the helicopter he was flying crashed while returning to base. Over the years, several people have asked me why someone so old was serving during the Vietnam War. I wondered that also until I finally tracked down part of the story when I visited his grave at the corner of Lawerenceville Highway and I285, just a few miles outside the City of Decatur. Brooks was born in 1931. That makes him part of the DHS Class of 1948 or 49. He is buried next to his parents close to the entrance of Floral Memorial Garden on the left. If you visit his grave this Memorial Day Weekend, you will see a flag and a red rose because Decatur does not forget those who sacrificed so much.
    The City of Decatur Memorial Day “Flags and Flowers” committee has greatly benefited from the support of the Friends of the Decatur Cemetery. Ms. Cathy Vogel recently sent me an email asking that I add a new name to our list of heroes. Buried near the road above the cemetery pond near a large inverted horseshoe like monument with a cross on the top is Pulaski Washington Englett, CSA, Died 1862 “… He Died In The Service Of His Country…”. We know very little about Englett. Ms Vogel thinks he may have died of an infection from a battlefield wound. He and two other Confederate soldiers will be honored with flags, flowers and respect Sunday evening and at the remembrance ceremony Monday at 5:00.
    A veteran Army commander once told me at Fort Benning that as Americans, we have the right to disagree with the war but we should always honor those who fought and died. We continue that tradition.
    I want to thank City Manager Peggy Merriss, Assistant City Manager David Junger and Cemetery Grounds Manager Demetrius Whatley (a DHS grad) who made sure that all the grave sites were in good condition. I sent an email to Mr. Junger about the Rose and Callaway graves needing work and it was resolved in 24 hours. I’m sure the families of Matt Rose and Allan Callaway appreciate the extra care given to the sites. Just another example of how important the Memorial Day Weekend activities are to so many people.
    If you have followed my Memorial Day posts over the years, you will remember Charles Sharman, a DHS grad and U.S. Marine killed in Vietnam. For as long as I can remember, twenty years or more, I’ve seen a fresh Marine flag flying next to his grave. Unfortunately this flag is now in very poor condition. I’ve called a number of organizations about getting a new Marine flag for Sharman’s grave but no one can provide one. If anyone reading this post has a small U.S. Marine (stick) flag or knows someone who can provide one, please send me an email at [email protected]. It would be fitting and proper to have a new flag in place for Monday’s ceremony because, like the U.S. Marines, we are always faithful to those who made the supreme sacrifice.
    Please attend the flower placement today at 4:00 and/or the closing ceremony Monday at 5:00. Thank you and God Bless Our Heroes, their families and the United States of America.

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