We are mindful this time of year of the members of veterans and other organizations who volunteer their time to try to ensure that the graves of military veterans in cemeteries throughout our region are decorated with an American flag for Memorial Day.
This is a huge undertaking.
Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties each have about 80 cemeteries. They range in size from the expansive Lake View Cemetery in Jamestown, to the tiny Hatch Cemetery in Busti.
Each one is equally important as we make an effort to memorialize not only those who died for their country, but those who also served. Lake View has a formal Soldier's Circle. Hatch Cemetery is an ancient burying ground with many headstones that are falling apart or utterly unreadable.
Two Revolutionary War patriots are buried there.
Come Monday, after formal programs are concluded and everyone has left, you may hear in the distance the crack of rifles firing three volleys. You will know it is one of the honor guards from veterans organizations that will fan out across the area to visit those small, out-of-way cemeteries where fallen soldiers are interred. They will travel in caravans of two or three cars and park along the side of the road at cemeteries that no long even have driveways.
They will get out of their cars, don the hats that complete their veteran uniforms and line up in formation as best they remember from their own military days.
Then they will fire three volleys that punctuate our nation's continuing reverence for those who fought and died and those who served when our country needed them.