Salem couple takes Memorial Day to their front lawn

The couple has set up a memorial every year on Memorial Day since they bought the house in 2020

SALEM, Va. – A little bit of rain couldn’t stop a Salem couple from remembering the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice defending our country.

Memorial Day events across Southwest Virginia were either postponed or adjusted with inclement weather on Monday. However, U.S. Army Veteran Scott Flanagan and his wife continued a years-long tradition.

Outside their home on Memorial Day lied a makeshift memorial. Since they bought the home in 2020, each Memorial Day they have put on the display.

Over the years, Flanagan says people tend to forget what the holiday is truly about.

“Memorial Day, a lot of people just see it as a four-day weekend. As for me, I see it as a weekend of remembrance,” Flanagan said.

The memorial consists of multiple flags from our armed forces. Alongside the flags is what’s commonly referred to as the ‘Missing Man Table.’ This year, Flanagan decided to add a casket with the American flag draped over it.

“It’s not just about one table or one thing, this is what this day is for is to remember those that have laid underneath that flag at made the ultimate sacrifice,” Flanagan said.

One of the other additions to this year was a table honoring a local serviceman who died. This year the table was in honor of James ‘Jimmy’ Buriak, a US Navy Petty Officer who lost his life in 2021 during a helicopter training exercise.

Ever since putting the memorial out on his front lawn, Flanagan has continued to connect with local veterans and their families.

“Some people will come up and they’ll tell us about the stories of their loved ones. You’ll see the rise and fall, the rollercoaster of emotions…the fun but then they’re sad they lost them but they’re glad that they have those memories with them,” Flanagan said.

Flanagan being a veteran himself acknowledges that Memorial Day is not meant for him. It’s about those who we’ve lost or who are still missing.

“It’s more for them. The ones that gave the ultimate sacrifice in defense of this country,” Flanagan said.

About the Author:

Connor Dietrich joined the 10 News team in June 2022. Originally from Castle Rock, Colorado, he's ready to step away from the Rockies and step into the Blue Ridge scenery.