TUPELO – Flags over Tupelo’s Veterans Memorial retain their bright, crisp appearance thanks to a twice-annual ritual that, this month, got some help from Woodmen of the World.
The fraternal nonprofit benefits society donated 80 new American flags to the memorial, which replaces its stock of stars and stripes every six months, along with eight other flags at the park.
“They take a beating out there,” said city Recreation Director Leigh Ann Mattox. “They get tore up in the wind, especially in the wind we had lately. It also depends on how much rain and sun we get.”
The city spends $6,500 annually from its veterans fund to maintain the colors, but this year they’ll save about 40 percent thanks to Woodmen of the World.
“It’s a very patriotic organization,” said Donna Griffin, the group’s local field representative who had learned about the memorial’s needs and secured the donation.
Woodmen of the World also has presented flags to nearly every school, police station, fire station and city hall in Lee County – as well those in as other counties in which they operate, said its area manager, Jamie Hofmister.
Hofmister and Griffin joined Parks and Recreation officials Wednesday at the park to raise one of the flags. Others had been replaced last week, just in time for Memorial Day, said Parks and Recreation Director Don Lewis. They’ll be replaced again before Veterans Day in November.
Worn flags are properly retired by local veterans groups or the Boy Scouts, Mattox said.
Because of the recurring costs, the city encourages individuals, businesses or organizations to sponsor a flagpole for $1,000. The sponsor gets a permanent plaque at the base of the pole, and the funds help purchase new flags.
Several poles have been sponsored, but dozens more remain available.
“It costs us a great deal of money every year to make sure the flags are not tattered or dirty,” said Rex Moody of the Tupelo Veterans Council, which falls under the Parks and Recreation Department. “This donation means a whole lot to us.”
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sponsor a flag pole
– By sponsoring a flag pole for $1,000 you get a permanent plaque at the base of the pole, and help the city purchase new flags every six months. Call the Tupelo Parks and Recreation Department for information at (662) 841-6440.
Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal