To honor their service in protecting our democracy, dozens of volunteers will be fanning out across Lebanon County on Saturday, May 15, to place flags on the graves of veterans.

Overall, more than 5,000 flags will be placed in 35 cemeteries. They range from a single grave in a family plot to the largest, Mount Lebanon Cemetery in the City of Lebanon, flag chairman Jeff Sonnen told LebTown.

Volunteers will be tagging grave sites with Old Glory anywhere from Richland to South Lebanon Township, he said.

Read More: Thousands of flags placed to honor veterans buried in county cemeteries

Mount Lebanon is the final resting place of more than 2,000 veterans, Sonnen said, including 17 from the American Revolution, 24 from the War of 1812, three from the Mexican-American War, 453 from the Civil War, 74 from the Spanish-American War, 374 from World War I, 697 from World War II, 94 from Korea and 37 from Vietnam.

The “soldiers block” alone at the cemetery houses the graves of two Mexican-American War veterans, 147 Civil War veterans, 11 Spanish-American War veterans, 44 World War I veterans, 50 World War II veterans and two Korean War veterans, Sonnen said.

The Lebanon Veterans’ Advisory Council is responsible for the annual flag-placing ceremony. Sonnen said it has been going on for some time, including long before he became involved eight years ago.

Volunteers – both individually and in groups – will meet at 9 a.m. at Mount Lebanon and then move on to other cemeteries, such as Holy Cross and Ebenezer. The graves of veterans are identified by markers, he said.

Among the organizations lending a hand are Annville-Cleona Honor Society, Kochenderfer Boy Scout Troop, Civil Air Patrol Squadron 307, U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, Liberty Fire Company, Lebanon Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Project Welcome Home, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 23 Ladies Auxiliary, Navy Club Ship 91 and Lickdale American Legion Post 910.

Sonnen said some new volunteers will be joining, including Domestic Violence Intervention of Lebanon County Inc.

VFW Post 23 is providing a light lunch afterward. The flags are funded by the Lebanon County Commissioners and distributed by the county Veterans Affairs office, he said.

They will stay up until a week after Veterans Day, Sonnen said, then be retired in a ceremony.

In addition to sponsoring the flag-placing event, the Lebanon Veterans’ Advisory Council organizes a Memorial Day parade and ceremony, a Veterans Day ceremony, and activities in Fisher Park.

It’s comprised of the following veterans organizations in the county: American Legion Post 158; Catholic War Veterans Post 1193; Lebanon Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution; Disabled American Veterans Chapter 81; Paralyzed Veterans of America, Keystone Chapter; Marine Corps League Post 525; Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War, Seven Shays Camp; VFW Post 23 (plus honor guard and auxiliary).

According to its Facebook page, the council’s “primary mission is to organize and support veterans’ activities within Lebanon city and the Lebanon VA Medical Center.”

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Paula Wolf worked for 31 years as a general assignment reporter, sports columnist, and editorial writer for LNP Media. A graduate of Franklin & Marshall College, she is a lifetime resident of Lancaster County.