The display of American flags for remembrance holidays is dwindling at Edgar Cemetery, but an effort is underway to reverse the trend. “Age and weather have taken a toll on the cemetery flags which decorate the cemetery on special occasions,” says Bruce Quinn, superintendent and caretaker of the county’s largest cemetery, located in Paris. Quinn explained that on Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Veterans Day, the cemetery is currently decorated with 58 flags on metal poles which are 15 feet tall. With Memorial Day a few weeks away, flags are a topic of honor and concern at the cemetery.
Through the years, flags made of cotton have frayed and become water damaged during unexpected weather changes. On an annual basis, Quinn arranges for the tattered flags to be repaired if possible, but the time has come for some to be retired. “We need flags which are 5 x 8 feet, and made of nylon,” said Quinn. “As the cotton flags have gotten wet and winds have bent the poles by their weight, we need to replace both in many cases.” In that regard, the Edgar Cemetery Board of Directors decidedf to advise the public of the need, and to welcome individuals and organizations to participate in the patriotic effort. Board president Jim Vadas explained that the flag fund will be an ongoing project, just like the Edgar Cemetery/Tree Fund.
“We now have these two special funds which are dedicated to making our cemetery beautiful now and in the future,” Vadas said. “People may send memorials and donations to these funds throughout the year.” Because of Illinois state laws which govern cemeteries, donations must be specifically designated as Edgar Cemetery/Flag Fund to be allocated for this specific purpose, Vadas emphasized. Quinn estimates that the cost will be close to $50 for a flag or $100, including a pole. It is his goal to erect enough flags to lead from each entrance to the Veterans’ Circle in the center of the cemetery. Currently there are only enough flags to reach the circle from the main gate on Clay Street.
“We can use all we can get, and would at least like to double the number currently displayed,” said Quinn.
Contributions to the “Edgar Cemetery/Flag Fund” may be sent to Edgar Cemetery, 629 Young Street, Paris, Illinois, c/o Bruce Quinn, Superintendent.