By Rick Cawley
For the Review
The Henry Houston American Legion Post #3 hosted a flag placement event at the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Cheltenham on Saturday. The annual ritual usually takes place on Memorial Day but had to be pushed back until the “Green Phase” status had been reached.
Under the direction of Post Commander, Bruce Driscoll, volunteers from various organizations scoured over 80 acres of the cemetery looking for gravesites of veterans where they could place flags . Members of the American Legion Riders, Scout Troop #334, Mission BBQ in Plymouth Meeting, and the 21st Ward Veterans Association, and community folk at large fanned out to cover the vast acreage of Holy Sepulchre on a typically hot summer morning.
The turnout of over 30 people spanned 7 decades including 2 ½ year old Ruby Ebinger who has been present for three flag placements, although this was the first year she could get out and fully participate. The number of volunteers might have been higher because a number of elderly veterans had to be concerned with the extreme heat and potential exposure at the gathering. All in all, the attendees placed close to 6500 flags at veteran’s gravesites across the expanse of the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.
The American Legion Riders, under their president Bob Clegg, brought a half dozen members to keep up this time-honored observance. Their numbers might have been higher if it were not for the relatively short notice on planning the event due to the awaited shift to the Green Phase. Most of those in attendance had to rearrange work schedules in order to make time to contribute to this worthy cause. The Riders spent nearly four hours in the searing heat covering half of the vast cemetery themselves. According to Bob Clegg, “flag placement is a long standing tradition of the Henry Houston Post and we were all glad to get out there and get it done.”
Bruce Driscoll, the Commander of the Henry Houston Post, was particularly gratified by the quantity of people who came out and the staggering amount of walking miles that were accumulated by the work parties. He expressed his gratitude “on behalf of the post for all of those who participated”. He added, “they deserve all the kudos in the world for all their work on a stinking hot day.”