In Bottineau, in addition to a Memorial Day parade and service at the Oak Creek Cemetery, a Parade of Flags was held to honor veterans.
In 1984, the Parade of Flags program was established by the Bottineau VFW Post 8688, but it wasn’t until later that flags were dedicated to deceased veterans.
“The dedication was for Veteran’s Day in 1987 and they started out with 70 flags. And by Memorial Day, that number had increased to 180,” said Bottineau VFW Auxiliary, Americanism Chairman Lois Schaefer.
Now, there are more than 500 flags.
“Most of them are either born here and lived here or some of them lived here and moved away. I know there is one person that is kind of an honorary one,” said Schaefer.
The flags were put up by four crews at around 6 a.m. and it took around an hour and a half.
“We have North Central Electric and Otter Tail Power Company come with bucket trucks and somebody rides in the bucket. We put all the flags on the truck and they go down the street and stab them in the flag holders,” said Ron Bergman, who’s in charge of the flag program.
The flags are usually put up and taken down on the same day.
Monday’s rainy weather meant that instead of funeral flags, smaller nylon flags were placed on display and they won’t be removed until later.
“It’s wet now and we can’t put them away wet so we’re gonna leave them up until they’re dry. Whether that’s Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday,” said Bergman.
He added that it feels good to help out and he hopes seeing the flags makes others feel good too.
“It’s an honor to be a part of it,” said Bergman. “Remember that somebody served for them.”
Schaefer says when people go by the flags, she hopes they feel a sense of patriotism.
“I’m hoping they feel inspired to be good citizens and stand up for our country. And to thank our veterans for everything that they do for us,” said Schaefer.
Originally, the flags were put up for Memorial Day, Flag Day, Fourth of July and Veterans Day, but due to the increasing number of flags, they’re put out for Memorial Day and Veterans Day.