Current, future veterans place flags at Evergreen Burial Park

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ROANOKE (WSLS10) - "It feels good to honor the veterans that have gone on," said John Porterfield, a Vietnam vet, as he walked through Evergreen Burial Park looking for veterans' graves.

Over 2,500 American flags now wave throughout the burial park, one at each veteran's grave.

"It's real important. Like, World War II, if we hadn't won we'd be speaking German probably," Porterfield pointed out.

ROTC members from Patrick Henry High School in Roanoke also took time this morning to help place the flags.

"They sacrificed their lives. I think it's important to give them the proper honor; to at least put some flags next to their graves," said Neloy Cardenas-Tapia.

"I respect the veterans, both the ones that are living and the ones that have passed on from this world," said Dominic Liberi. "It's really such a good thing to do."

Even those who may still be too young to fully understand and appreciate the holiday wanted to help out.

"I asked my mom and dad if I could help him and they said 'it's okay, I could help him,'" said Ryan, a six year old, excitedly.

Ryan followed along as Vietnam vet Roger Ward searched for veterans' graves. Ward made the holes, Ryan placed the flags.

Ward says he appreciates seeing the younger generations take time to respect those who put their life on the line for the flag that now waves above their grave.

"I think it's a really great thing. I think they're showing respect," Ward said.

"We're trying to show them respect aren't we," Ward asked of Ryan, to which Ryan happily replied "yes!"

Porterfield says he, too, appreciates the ROTC members sweating it out on a Saturday morning.

"They'll be in the service in a few years probably and they'll learn something," he said.

Something that will help them help future generations of veterans appreciate Memorial Day just as they do.

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