Every May for the past 50 years, Turlock Memorial Park has honored the area's fallen soldiers through its Veterans Memorial Lane flag tribute. The stars and stripes, proudly displayed, were a visual reminder of the sacrifices made by the service members, and their families.
The patriotic memorial has grown over the years, starting with less than 150 flags in 1963 and expanding to approximately 650 flags today, according to Turlock Memorial Park and Funeral Home director Scott Atherton. While the community continues to remember those fallen vets, time has paid a price on the flags themselves.
"Some of those flags are 50 years or older; some are from veterans who died in World War I or World War II," Atherton said. "Over the years, they've become more tattered, more yellowed from being flown the three days of Memorial Day weekend each year."
Turlock Memorial Park is asking the community's help in replacing the most tattered flags, and restoring the one's in need of care.
"We've separated out 300 that need to be replaced and are working to repair and clean the others," Atherton said.
Community members can sponsor a flag for a specific veteran interred at Turlock Memorial Park. Flags donated in honor of a veteran interred somewhere else will also be flown on Memorial Day weekend. The cost is $55 for a traditional 50-star heavyweight cotton flag. All flags will be identified with the veteran's name, and dates of birth and death.
The "Adopt-A-Flag" program will run through the end of April. To sponsor a flag, contact Turlock Memorial Park at 632-9111.