Memorial Day is a day to honor our veterans. Each year on Memorial Day weekend at the Long Island National Cemetery, Pinelawn, a great way to honor our veterans is by placing an American flag on their graves. The Long Island National Cemetery, Pinelawn has 245,000 perfectly aligned granite headstones, marking the graves of our deceased veterans. These veterans fought for the United States as far back as the Spanish-American War and gave us the freedom that makes this the great country that it is today.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

At 8 a.m. on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, families, friends, scout troops and motorcycle clubs show up at the cemetery gate, lined up for blocks. Scattered throughout the cemetery are bins with bundles of flags. Everyone grabs a bundle and starts placing them on the graves. People of all ages show up to volunteer their time and pay respect to those who fought for us. The whole process takes less than two hours. At the end, every grave has a flag and the cemetery is a fluttering sea of red, white and blue.

This is a great way for kids to show respect for our veterans and what they’ve done for us. I had the privilege of putting a flag on my grandfather’s grave (he fought in World War II) and my great-grandfather’s grave (he fought in World War I). It was a very nice experience, and it is something everyone should do.