STEUBENVILLE - The line of employees and volunteers started in the military section of Union Cemetery shortly after 8 a.m. Wednesday.
One by one the small American flags, worn by a year of summer sun and winter weather were pulled from the small holder at each military veteran's grave and replaced with a new flag.
Cemetery employee Doug Simmons said the job is a careful choreographed process made more efficient every year.
NEW FLAGS — Doug Simmons, a Union Cemetery employee, carefully placed new American flags at the graves of military veterans buried in the cemetery. The cemetery workers and volunteers spent Wednesday putting approximately 3,800 flags on graves in preparation for Memorial Day. - Dave Gossett
"Dick Fithen drives the Gator with the boxes filled with thousands of flags purchased from the American Legion. We spread out behind him and start replacing flags. It takes all day, but by the end of the day all of the veterans' graves have new flags," explained Doug Simmons.
It is a job that Dick Fithen, the foreman at the cemetery, said he enjoys doing every May.
"It takes us almost all day. But it is the least we can do for these veterans," said Fithen as he handed out bundles of small flags to the men and women putting flags at each veteran's grave site.
The next stop for the flag contingent was the Civil War veterans' section where the stones are weathered and worn.
That's where Memorial Day services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday with Ed Mascio, service officer of the Jefferson County Veterans Commission, set to speak.
Visitors will stand in silence Monday as honor guard contingents fire their rifles and the sound of taps echoes across the hills during Memorial Day services in the city.
The American Legion Post 33 and Ladies Auxiliary will remember sailors lost at sea during a 9:30 a.m. service at the Steubenville Marina.
"The scattering of flowers on the water was first started in 1901 on the Detroit River as a memorial to sailors who lost their lives while serving our country," explained Schelley Brooks, service officer for the Jefferson County Veterans Commission.
A Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. by the Rev. John McCoy of St. John Fisher Catholic Church in Richmond at the Coronation Mausoleum in Mount Calvary Cemetery.
Following the Mass retired Lt. Col. Bryan Felmet will speak on the meaning of Memorial Day.
Joe Benline, manager of the cemetery, ordered 3,800 new flags this year.
"Last year we ordered 3,400 flags. We order most of them from the American Legion Post 33 but we have to buy extra flags every year because we have more veterans buried each year," said Benline.