Disabled American Veterans
Chapter #1 Fort Smith

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FLAGS AND FLOWERS STORY  

Yesterday, 20 March 2019, I had the extreme privilege of meeting a wonderfully inspiring young man.  His name is Preston Sharp.  He and his mom travel around this great country of ours from their home in California and visit various National Cemeteries to place “flags and flowers” on veterans gravesites. This young man is just 13 years old.

The day was 50 degrees with a light rain...but that didn’t deter Preston and his mom. Nor did it stop the others who came to help and to meet this inspirational young man. In attendance were our Mayor George McGill, Janice Skaggs (Senator Womack’s office), Chris Hoover (Senator Cotton’s office), Marshall Murphy (Director of Fort Smith & Little Rock National Cemeteries), members of DAV’s Chapter 1 (Ft Smith, AR), Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, American Legion and VFW. I saw a member of the Fort Smith Police Department and the Sebastian County Sheriff’s Department, mothers and their daughters, folks on their lunch breaks and various other patriots. 

Preston’s instructions to all of us were to place a flag on the right side of the headstone and a red carnation on the left.  Read the veterans name out loud and say “thank you for your service”.  Being a veteran myself, I and other veterans also saluted them as we did what Preston asked. About midway through, there was a veteran’s funeral about to take place. The service member in charge of the funeral detail announced “ATTENTION!” Scattered in various sections of the cemetery, we stopped what we were doing, faced the funeral detail, and as they pulled the flag-draped casket of our fallen Comrade from the hearse, we stood at attention and saluted him. When “ORDER ARMS!” was called, we all returned to our task at hand. 
As the day went on, even though the weather became colder and drearier, it was such a “BEAUTIFUL” day. This young man, his mother, my fellow veterans and patriots around me were such an inspiration to me. I felt so honored to have served my country and privileged to live in such a nation where grateful patriots such as these fine folks live.  
                               
                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                                                          Jeannette Hartsfield,
                                                                                                                                                                                        DAV #1      Commander