ROTC cadets place 5,822 flags at RHS to honor Vietnam War dead on Memorial Day


ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — For the second straight year, flags cover the front lawn at Robertsdale High School this Memorial Day weekend in order to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Last year, cadets from the Robertsdale High School Naval Junior ROTC placed 5,425 flags in a project dubbed “Operation Patriot59,” each flag representing 10 Americans who lost their lives in the Korean War, approximately 54,250.

This year, cadets returned to the project with more flags, 5,822, to honor the 58,220 Americans who lost their lives during the Vietnam War.

With assistance from Commander Frank Star and instructors, Petty Officer Edward “Theo” Theodoro and Petty Officer Erin Charles Pate, cadets began Monday and had all of the flags in place by the end of the day Tuesday. The project is designed to bring attention to the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our freedom and each year the RHS NJROTC plans to commemorate a different war.

A total of 6,000 flags were either purchased or donated from various veterans’ groups in the area. The flags that survived are being reused for this year’s display. Additional flags were purchased to replace those that were lost from last year’s display.

While the threat of severe weather caused last year’s display to be taken up early, the forecast for this year calls for sunny skies and throughout the weekend, cadets will monitor the display and replace any flags that fall over.

The flags were also made part of a War Memorial plaque, which was dedicated at the school on Thursday to honor all graduates from Robertsdale High School who have died during wartime.