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.