On the morning of the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, volunteers placed 12 flags in the St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery, located at 300 E 4th St., Chaska. The flags were displayed until Sunday afternoon.
The idea to display the flags came about when the cemetery board had discussed doing something different, said Gary Shay, a cemetery board member and the cemetery’s volunteer caretaker.
Shay, along with Jay Molnku, head of the cemetery board, volunteered to place the flags. The display of flags included the permanent U.S. flag, a WWI, WWII, Vietnam War, Never Forget 9/11 and police/fire/medical/ educators flags.
This display presentation is defined as phase one of a two-phase project concept, Shay said. In the future, the cemetery will display a mixture of the flags depending on the memorial occasion, he said.
Board members already have other events in mind throughout the rest of the year. Displaying the flags won’t be frequent, but when they are, they hope it’s special, Shay added.
“We’re going to start a new tradition, the new tradition being we’re gonna try and do this every year,” Shay said.
For veteran burials, the cemetery will be able to fly flags from the veteran’s branch of service, such as the Coast Guard, Air Force, Navy or Army. It will be a variable situation, Shay said.
Shay is not aware of anyone buried in the cemetery that has a direct connection to the events that happed on Sept. 11, 2001. The decision to fly the police/fire/medical/ educators flag was due to the fact that police, fire and medical teams were the people who rushed to ground zero on Sept. 11, Shay said.
“They gave their lives to save lives,” Shay said. “So that’s one reason why we want to emphasize and show respect to these individuals as well as the victims themselves that were in the building.”