WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Macomb Loves its Flags of Love

Nov 11, 2016

Lackluster volunteer support for the Flags of Love display had Macomb city leaders wondering whether it was time to end the tradition.  But it appears the community would like it to continue.  More than 200 volunteers showed up in Chandler Park first thing Friday morning to help with the display. 

“I’ve been doing the Flags for about ten years now and I would say without a doubt this is the largest crowd,” said Mayor Mike Inman.

“It’s really heartwarming to see everybody here, especially on Veteran’s Day.”

Inman hopes the city can continue the tradition. The flags honor military veterans and are displayed five times a year: Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Veteran’s Day.

Few people have participated on some of those holidays in recent years. It can take 45 minutes for volunteers to set up the more than 800 flags when only around a dozen people show up.  But it took only around 15 minutes on Friday when veterans were joined by college and high school students and others from the community.

“It sure tells me that the folks in this community believe in this project,” Inman said about the turnout.

A panoramic photo of the display.
Credit Rich Egger

Ron Pettigrew is one of the first-time volunteers who participated Friday.  He said he got involved because he heard the Flags of Love was in danger of being canceled. And he talked to others about helping out too.

“Every group I knew I spoke to and encouraged because I clearly think this is the right thing to do,” he said.

Pettigrew said he has served several tours overseas and still serves as a Navy Reserve chaplain. 

“I’m very honored and encouraged. This is great seeing everybody out here,” he said.

Many hands make light work.
Credit Rich Egger