Two days before Memorial Day 2015, Joanne Malmstedt learned that Fort Snelling no longer had the ability to place flags on the graves of the Veterans laid to rest at their cemetery. Calling friends and family into action, a movement began to try to collect as many flags as they could. Falling quite short of the 180,000 flags needed to blanket the cemetery, the volunteers were still proud to still have placed over 3,000 flags in such short notice.
Today, the effort continues and is growing. We still will not have enough flags to blanket the entire cemetery this year, but with your continued support and attention, we can get there! Our most dire need at this point is funding, so please keep the individual and corporate donations coming. We cannot express how much we appreciate your help!
Flag Placement Request
We welcome your request to have us honor your loved one on Memorial Day by placing a flag at their headstone for you.
There are 213,000 people buried at Fort Snelling, and at least 60 percent of them — roughly 130,000 — were military veterans. The cemetery staff hasn’t attempted to place flags at all the graves in 30 years because of the sheer number of headstones.
And the staff’s time is devoted to keeping up with the demand for burials, which average 20 to 30 services each day.
This year Fort Snelling was approached by the non-profit known as Flags for Fallen Vets Inc., which offered to mobilize 3,000 volunteers to plant flags. The group has successfully conducted similar volunteer operations at large military cemeteries in Florida, but it didn’t materialize in Minnesota.