The mission of Flags for Fort Snelling was brought about with the best intentions, dedication to work hard, and a deep desire to honor those who have sacrificed so much for our country.  However, the best intentions are not enough to accomplish an undertaking of this magnitude. Our first effort of best intentions was Memorial Day 2015, certainly a humble beginning. Before our days operating as a non-profit organization, we were just a few friends armed with Facebook as the only platform to get our message out. About 20 of us quietly gathered 2,700 little flags with our own funds and met on Memorial morning to place them along Mallon Road of Fort Snelling National Cemetery. The number of flags we placed was meager in comparison to what was needed and the drastic shortage caught the public’s attention.

Phone calls, emails, and facebook messages began rolling in from patriots and Veterans inquiring about flags on the headstones on Memorial Day. Two things were quickly being made inherantly clear:

  1. We weren’t the only ones who assumed, incorrectly, that flags were placed every year at National cemeteries on Memorial Day.
  2. Minnesotan’s really wanted to be a part of changing that.

Knowing we’d have the communities’ support for the footwork as long as we could build the tools to organize them, Flags for Fort Snelling was born as an organized Minnesota non-profit as of 2016. It was a small team of just a few people with limited resources, so the plan was to grow at a small rate. There are a lot of t’s to cross and i’s to dot when organizing an effort of this size for something this important. We started with 10,000 flags in 2016 and increased to 50,000 in 2017. We were learning right along with the Fort Snelling Cemetery administration, and taking notes on how to establish a sustainable system we could depend on annually.

Today, we are so excited to have partnered with incredible sponsors whom, without their guidance, expertise, and generosity, we simply would not be accomplishing this a great tribute to our American Heroes.



In 2016, our first year as an officially organized effort, about 500 volunteers met at Fort Snelling to place the 10,000 flags we were able to secure with our limited funding. We met before sunrise, watching as the rays cut through the fog for an emotionally charged start to our day.

KARE 11 noticed our efforts again this year and began inquiring about our story and our mission. Coverage such as theirs began to get us real attention. Our mission was gaining interest and with it our fundraising, making it possible to grow. The next year, 2017, over 2,500 volunteers assembled at Fort Snelling National Cemetery (causing quite the traffic jam on 494 at 6am!) to place 50,000 flags.

As we entered our third season, KARE 11 stepped up to partner with our efforts for 2018, committing to our goal of placing a flag on every headstone for Memorial Day. Taking the lead on promoting our message and communicating our needs with the public, KARE 11 has been instrumental in keeping us connected with the community who wants so much to be involved. The dedication and special interest of the KARE 11 team has raised tens of thousands of dollars for our organization and communicated our message to an audience grateful to have the opportunity to get involved. The time and effort they have given to our mission is outstanding and we can’t thank them enough.

Mall of America®

Mall of America® heard of our organization and our mission in 2017, and having a long history of support of our military, including the honor of being a Yellow Ribbon Company, without hesitation reached out to us to help. In addition to a generous initial cash donation, they made it very clear they wanted to dedicate more than a few dollars to our efforts. The organization of an event like this is a bit unlike any other. We aren’t a group of 5,000+ people running or walking a marathon from point A to point B along public streets. We aren’t a festival event of 5,000+ people surrounded by vendors. We are thousands of everyday people wanting to help bring a historic tradition back to life. We are thousands of people working with hundreds of thousands of American flags, all needing to abide by very strict rules, early hours, and often times a lot of patience.

Thankfully, the Mall was excited to rise to the occasion and give this effort the level of respect it deserves. Knowing we are looking to build a sustainable operational system we could depend on annually, the commitment to our mission was not made lightly. The convenient location between the mall and cemetery made logistics ideal and they were proud to dedicate their resources to supporting our annual needs. They have the experience and resources to support our growing organization, and have dedicated an impressive amount of time, funds, and countless resources to bring this event to life. They have provided all the organization for Memorial Day weekend activities from Friday through Monday, including music, fun activities, and the incredible displays of ‘The Fallen Soldier Table”  in the Rotunda, and ” Spirit of America’s Story Wall” on display in the atrium.

The Mall of America® has been instrumental in providing connections necessary to grow our organization including things such as the shuttle transportation system needed to transport our volunteers. We are so thankful for their generosity and for being wonderful partners who keep the mission a #1 priority. 


RBCU -Richfield Bloomington Credit Union

RBCU reached out to Flags for Fort Snelling in 2017 inquiring about how to help. With only one active board member available at the time, we honestly didn’t get back to them right away. Not giving up easily, they continued to reach out until Todd and Rocky finally connected. RBCU wasn’t wanting to reach out with just a donation, but rather with a breath-taking commitment to help raise $100,000 for the Flags for Fort Snelling mission. Now, again, there was only one active board member at the time. That amount of fundraising sounded incredible and terrifying at the same time. Funds like that could mean a lot of flags, which meant a lot of volunteers, which could mean another traffic jam at the cemetery and there was only one of us…

But Todd wasn’t done. Not only did he want to commit to the fundraising, but he had ideas and connections and a passion for making this happen. He wanted to put his resources to work for our mission and was serious about making it happen. Taking a leap, Rocky and Todd commited to launching the mission to make 2018 the first time in 35 years that a flag would be placed on every headstone at the cemetery.

Kicking things off with a few radio ads to start fundraising flow, RBCU sparked interest in our organizations over the holiday season. They began accepting donations at all of their locations and internally driving fundraising our direction. In the meantime, the partnership grew with the addition of the Mall of America® and KARE 11’s participation. Fundraising goals were increased to $225,000 to cover mounting event organization expenses to develop this as an annual event.

RBCU continues to provide support every day, even offering to provide staff to help manage the multitude of phone calls, emails, postal mailings and other clerical duties to assist in keeping this process as organized as possible. RBCU is well known for their charity efforts, fundraising, and scholarships and we are blessed to have them partnering with us and providing their expertise to make us a successful organization! 

VantagePoint Marketing LLC.

VantagePoint Marketing, LLC., is owned and operated by Flags for Fort Snelling’s co-founder, Rocky Borchardt. From the first Facebook call out for volunteers in 2015, Rocky teamed up with co-founder Joanne Malmstedt, jumping in with both feet. That first year, she thought, like everyone else, they were getting together for a fun and patriotic, one-time to-do. We felt good about our effort, be it small, meanwhile sad that we couldn’t do more.

Or could we? Thanks to press coverage of our little ragtag team effort, people were taking notice and reaching out to us. There was clearly a need here and the non-profit was organized. Rocky was excited to have many of the resources Flags for Fort Snelling would need to establish as an operational organization. Her commitment to the board and being such a new and small organization quickly led to VantagePoint Marketing becoming the headquarters of Flags for Fort Snelling.  Dedicating what they do best, they were able to provide the online tools necessary to continue to communicate with the community and organize every phase of the effort. VantagePoint Marketing continues providing all the digital marketing including creating and maintaining the Flags for Fort Snelling website, flyers, posters and all other digital promotions. The VantagePoint team pitches in several hours each day attending meetings, maintaining the website, managing the phone calls, emails, postal mail, and donations. 


Author: KARE 11 Staff  |  Published: 11:25 AM CDT March 12, 2018  |  Updated: 2:13 PM CDT March 30, 2018

Help put flags on every grave at Fort Snelling on Memorial Day

The goal is to purchase flags that can be placed on every grave each Memorial Day. Support this mission with a financial contribution to purchase 200,000 flags and by volunteering to place the flags on our heroes gravesites.

MINNEAPOLIS – KARE 11 is teaming up with Flags for Fort Snelling, the Mall of America, RBCU, and VantagePoint Marketing to honor those that have served in the United States Military by raising the funds needed to honor the heroes laid to rest at the Fort Snelling National Cemetery with an American Flag on Memorial Day. This hasn’t been accomplished at Fort Snelling in more than thirty years. This goal is ambitious and the organizations involved will need community support to see it accomplished.

How you can help:

Make a donation to help purchase flags. $225,000 will need to be raised to honor each hero that has been laid to rest at Fort Snelling National Cemetery. Every donation, large or small, makes a difference. You can also sign up to be one of the 7,000 volunteers needed to help place flags over memorial day weekend.

Original Article found on Kare 11


A Look Back to the beginning: Flags For Fort Snelling 2016

2016 Kare 11 Memorial Day Coverage

Flags for Fort Snelling began its mission with meager beginnings- Take a look back at where we started and how far we have come. Just two years ago, our organization “couldn’t possibly do them all”, but with our determination and the continued contributions of Veteran-supporting organizations, local corporations, and Minnesota’s generous citizens, we are prepared to make history on Memorial Day weekend 2018!


KARE 11 is teaming up with Flags for Fort Snelling, Mall of America, RBCU, and VantagePoint Marketing LLC to honor those who have served in the United States Military by raising the funds needed to honor each one of our heroes and their family members laid to rest at Fort Snelling National Cemetery with an American Flag on Memorial Day.

Help put flags on every grave at Ft. Snelling on Memorial Day

The goal is to purchase flags that can be placed on every grave each Memorial Day. Support by making a financial contribution to purchase flags and volunteering to place the flags on the graves.

MINNEAPOLIS – KARE 11 is teaming up with Flags for Fort Snelling,  Mall of America, RBCU and VantagePoint Marketing LLC  to honor those who have served in the United States Military by raising the funds needed to honor the heroes laid to rest at the Fort Snelling National Cemetery with an American Flag on Memorial Day. This is an honored tradition that hasn’t been accomplished at Fort Snelling in more than thirty-five years. This goal is ambitious and the organizations involved will need community support to see it accomplished.


How you can help:

Make a donation to help purchase flags. $225,000 is needed to purchase flags and cover operational costs in order to honor each hero that has been laid to rest at Fort Snelling National Cemetery. Every donation, large or small, makes a difference. You can also volunteer to help place flags over Memorial Day weekend.

The TEGNA Foundation will match the first $11,000 donated to this cause.

CLICK HERE to visit the original article on



Flags for Fort Snelling works to make sure heroes are not forgotten

Kare 11 on Flags for Fort Snelling 2017

Interview with Matthew Foy  |  Fort Snelling National Cemetery

This Memorial Day weekend, people around the country will pay tribute to the nation’s fallen heroes. In the Twin Cities, one local group is on a mission to make sure those heroes aren’t forgotten.

Local non-profit to put flags on every Ft. Snelling gravesite’

– Local non-profit, Flags for Fort Snelling is planning to put American Flags in front of EVERY gravestone in Fort Snelling – all 200,000 of them – as a way to help kids understand what Memorial Day is really about.

Proudly Sponsored by VantagePoint Marketing, LLC


Memorial Day is just around the corner, and Fort Snelling is looking for help to place tens of thousands of American flags on the graves of those buried in the National Cemetery there.  They need both monetary donations to pay for the 180,000 flags and help placing them.

Click HERE to help out.

– Ross

[Fort Snelling]

Proudly Sponsored by VantagePoint Marketing, LLC

Proudly Sponsored by VantagePoint Marketing, LLC

The History of Memorial Day

According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, their website describes Memorial day as the following:

[Read Full Article on the VAs Official Website]

Flags-for-Fort-Snelling-Memorial-Day-American-Veterans-Flags-Kare-11-Pic1Memorial Day History

Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.

The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.

The ceremonies centered around the mourning-draped veranda of the Arlington mansion, once the home of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Various Washington officials, including Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, presided over the ceremonies. After speeches, children from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home and members of the GAR made their way through the cemetery, strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves, reciting prayers and singing hymns.

Local Observances Claim To Be First Local springtime tributes to the Civil War dead already had been held in various places. One of the first occurred in Columbus, Miss., April 25, 1866, when a group of women visited a cemetery to decorate the graves of Confederate soldiers who had fallen in battle at Shiloh. Nearby were the graves of Union soldiers, neglected because they were the enemy. Disturbed at the sight of the bare graves, the women placed some of their flowers on those graves, as well.

Today, cities in the North and the South claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day in 1866. Both Macon and Columbus, Ga., claim the title, as well as Richmond, Va. The village of Boalsburg, Pa., claims it began there two years earlier. A stone in a Carbondale, Ill., cemetery carries the statement that the first Decoration Day ceremony took place there on April 29, 1866. Carbondale was the wartime home of Gen. Logan. Approximately 25 places have been named in connection with the origin of Memorial Day, many of them in the South where most of the war dead were buried.

Official Birthplace Declared In 1966, Congress and President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, N.Y., the “birthplace” of Memorial Day. There, a ceremony on May 5, 1866, honored local veterans who had fought in the Civil War. Businesses closed and residents flew flags at half-staff. Supporters of Waterloo’s claim say earlier observances in other places were either informal, not community-wide or one-time events.

By the end of the 19th century, Memorial Day ceremonies were being held on May 30 throughout the nation. State legislatures passed proclamations designating the day, and the Army and Navy adopted regulations for proper observance at their facilities.

It was not until after World War I, however, that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress, though it is still often called Decoration Day. It was then also placed on the last Monday in May, as were some other federal holidays.

Some States Have Confederate Observances Many Southern states also have their own days for honoring the Confederate dead. Mississippi celebrates Confederate Memorial Day on the last Monday of April, Alabama on the fourth Monday of April, and Georgia on April 26. North and South Carolina observe it on May 10, Louisiana on June 3 and Tennessee calls that date Confederate Decoration Day. Texas celebrates Confederate Heroes Day January 19 and Virginia calls the last Monday in May Confederate Memorial Day.

Gen. Logan’s order for his posts to decorate graves in 1868 “with the choicest flowers of springtime” urged: “We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. … Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.”

The crowd attending the first Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery was approximately the same size as those that attend today’s observance, about 5,000 people. Then, as now, small American flags were placed on each grave — a tradition followed at many national cemeteries today. In recent years, the custom has grown in many families to decorate the graves of all departed loved ones.

The origins of special services to honor those who die in war can be found in antiquity. The Athenian leader Pericles offered a tribute to the fallen heroes of the Peloponnesian War over 24 centuries ago that could be applied today to the 1.1 million Americans who have died in the nation’s wars: “Not only are they commemorated by columns and inscriptions, but there dwells also an unwritten memorial of them, graven not on stone but in the hearts of men.”

To ensure the sacrifices of America ’s fallen heroes are never forgotten, in December 2000, the U.S. Congress passed and the president signed into law “The National Moment of Remembrance Act,” P.L. 106-579, creating the White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance. The commission’s charter is to “encourage the people of the United States to give something back to their country, which provides them so much freedom and opportunity” by encouraging and coordinating commemorations in the United States of Memorial Day and the National Moment of Remembrance.

The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation. As Moment of Remembrance founder Carmella LaSpada states: “It’s a way we can all help put the memorial back in Memorial Day.”


-Full credit to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs : The above information is accredited to the website.

Proudly Sponsored by Downtown Design- 100% USA

New & Exclusive Trust Vets Events and Specials just for you!

Trust-Vets_Veteran-Online-Business-Directory_LogoWe want to take a moment to highlight the continued efforts of Trust Vets. In the public eye, you’ll see their mission to connect America with Veterans in Business; encouraging America to use the Business Directory every time they are looking to hire a local service.

The part the public doesn’t see as much of, are the amazing events and opportunities that Trust Vets presents to their members to support each other. You wouldn’t believe some of the amazing stories Trust Vets has helped to create. From incredible success stories of a Veteran-Owned Business after joining Trust Vets, to the heartwarming tales of friendships and bonds that have developed as a result of the connections.

Trust Vets Events and Specials

Click the link above to check out the Trust Vets and Specials they have available, all in support of driving business to American Veterans. You’ll find networking opportunities, inspirational speakers, and wonderful events that you’ll want to attend and encourage the Veterans in your life to join.


MORE BIG SPECIALS and TRUST VETS EVENTS for the TRUST VETS Family, Members and Patriots include:

  • Permit to Carry Classes for only $50 offered Saturday 2/13/2016 by Trust Vets Member, Don Raleigh, owner of Evolve Systems.

  • Third Thursday Social Mixer at Veteran owned Wander North Distillery offered by TRUST VETS member Brian Winter on Thursday 2/18/2016.

  • Trust Vets Member, Erik Therwanger, author of The Think GREAT Collection, will share concepts on Wednesday 3/23/2016 from his acclaimed book, The LEADERSHIP Connection to help leaders to fulfill much more than their position, but rather, their purpose as leaders.

    + Eight opportunities for business networking in the months of February and March!  CLICK HERE FOR NETWORKING DETAILS

Before you hire a local service, be sure you visit for a trusted business directory of American Veterans. Show your support of the success of our Veterans here on our home soil, by driving business in their direction. Trust Vets. They’ve earned it. 

-Rocky Borchardt

Volunteering for Memorial Day at the Fort Snelling National Cemetery

Today I spoke with a close friend of mine who was feeling badly about not being able to volunteer on Memorial Day at the Fort Snelling National Cemetery. She and her family are part of a tradition of camping with other close friends and their families. They make amazing memories with their children, but are sure to not forget the reason behind the holiday.

Flags-for-Fort-Snelling-Memorial-Day-American-Veterans-FlagsOf course, we do not want anyone to feel guilty for not being in town to volunteer on Memorial Day at the Fort Snelling National Cemetery. In fact, that is one of the main reasons that gave birth to our mission! There are many people who, for various reasons, cannot make it to the Fort Snelling National Cemetery to honor their loved ones in person. Flags for Fort Snelling wants to help bridge the distance and disconnect for those people as best we can.  Thanks to our Flag Placement Requests, with the help of our Facebook page, we can share a photo with the requester so they can see the American Flag placed at the grave site of their loved one.

To those who spend their Memorial Day weekends out of town or even at home with a BBQ, we still want you to enjoy the holiday with your loved ones. Of course, we hope you’ll take a moment to remember and honor the fallen American Heroes who gave their lives for our country, for they are the reason for Memorial Day.

The close friend of mine who prompted this post still wanted to show her support for the Flags for Fort Snelling mission, in addition to her own Memorial Day tradition.  So she purchased FFFS t-shirts for her family, and has decided to volunteer as FLAG COLLECTORS, a truly valuable need for FFFS. Flag Collectors return to the Fort Snelling National Cemetery within 10 days after Memorial Day to collect the American Flags to be used the following year. This is a drastic cost savings for FFFS, so we cannot express our gratitude for those who volunteer for this position.

So if you cannot volunteer on Memorial Day at the Fort Snelling National Cemetery, but still want to contribute, there are many ways to support FFFS. SHARE. DONATE. BUY FFFS MERCHANDISE.

Or CONTACT US about any other way you’d like to help. We want to hear your personal stories and why Memorial Day at the Fort Snelling National Cemetery is important to you!


-Rocky Borchardt


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Flags for Fort Snelling 2016

Our very first blog? I guess the saying is true… time really does fly when you’re having fun!

Flags-for-Fort-Snelling_Veterans-Cemetary-Memorial-Day-Logo2I just want to take a moment to write on a personal level about FFFS and the efforts that have been happening since last May. As I reflect on Flags for Fort Snelling, I can’t help but chuckle a bit. The mission behind FFFS is an honorable one, yet the story behind its growth does have a bit of humor.

My name is Rocky Borchardt. I am a single mother of one very amazing and driven young girl. I am co-owner of a website design and online marketing company, in addition to working full time as a Creative Director of another growing corporation. I am the soccer coach and lead team parent for my daughter’s extracurricular activities.

Joanne Malmstedt is an impressive single mother of three outstanding young kids. She proudly works as a 911-Dispatcher for the Minnesota State Patrol, while simultaneously attending school to become a State Patrol Officer herself. Joanne somehow still finds the time to support every sport and activity her kids are truly devoted to, including Fastpitch Softball and Tae Kwon Do.

So yes, at times we chuckle that you couldn’t find two less available people to be the driving force behind Flags for Fort Snelling.  Here we are, two women with an already incredibly limited amount of personal time, trying to revive the honored tradition of placing 200,000 American Flags at the Fort Snelling National Cemetery every Memorial Day; an effort that is no small undertaking.

Still, I have to hand it to Joanne, as it was her personal and parental values that led to the birth of FFFS. As Memorial Day of 2015 approached, she wanted to take the opportunity to show her children the meaning behind the holiday. She could have simply celebrated with a poolside BBQ, and just taken advantage of the day off with her family. Instead, she called the Fort Snelling National Cemetery to inquire about volunteering to help place flags, only to discover that the tradition had gone unsupported for quite some time.  Here again, she could have turned a blind eye.

Instead, she called her friends and family into action. Within less than 3 days, 3,000 flags were collected and about 20 volunteers came to help distribute them. The new mission was sprouting.FFFS_Flags-for-Fort-Snelling-National-Cemetery-American-Veterans_Memorial-Day-Fundraiser

Here we are, about 9 months later, and we’re still plugging away as best we can. We’ve had great support from our friends and family. Trust Vets has provided fundraising opportunities and continues to help spread our message. Although this mission deserves full-time effort, I can’t help but reflect at how appreciative I am to see the progress we are still making (in spite of the humorously unavailable people driving the effort!).

Our effort continues with our next fundraiser, as we were kindly invited back to Wander North Distillery by Brian Winter, on February 18th, 2016. Please CLICK HERE to check out the event!

We’ll be checking in more often, as we are hearing and experiencing amazing tales along this journey for Flags for Fort Snelling!