Volunteers Distribute Thousands Of Flags To Honor Veterans

By: Tim Wood

Volunteers gathered at the Chatham Lighthouse Overlook last Thursday to begin distributing the flags.

CHATHAM – Sarah Dennis wants to make sure veterans don't feel forgotten.

When she heard that flags weren't going to be placed on the graves of local veterans, she marshaled volunteers, collected hundreds of flags and began distributing them to businesses and in public spaces around town.

“We want to honor all veterans,” she said. “We wanted to lay out a red, white and blue carpet for them.”

The group started out Thursday, meeting at the Chatham Lighthouse Overlook and then heading down Main Street, placing flags on the lawns of homeowners who gave permission and then at businesses. They lined the walkway at Kate Gould Park, and placed them in planters throughout the downtown area.

The first day more than 800 flags were distributed. On Saturday, a larger group of about a dozen volunteers continued the work, putting out hundreds of more flags. Dennis, a Harwich resident who runs the charity Potted Plants for Seniors, said the group has about 20,000 flags to distribute, many of them from the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne.

Her charity delivers donated plants to both seniors and veterans, and last week's project was an extension of that outreach, Dennis said.

“We owe them everything,” she said. “They need to know they're important. They're real-life heroes.” The group has distributed more than 35,000 potted plants as well as hundreds of cards and letters from local students, she said.

Dennis is also working on a project she calls “Light Up Cape Cod For Veterans” and hopes to distribute red, white and blue Christmas lights to businesses and residents and illuminate the peninsula around Thanksgiving.

“We'd love to see everybody come together on this,” she said.

Several veterans offered thanks during the flag distribution, including one man who stood at attention while the flags were placed, Dennis said.

“That's the biggest thank you we can get,” she said.

To help out in the projects, email pottedplantsforseniors@gmail.com or visit facebook.com/pottedplantsforseniors.