Local News

Vietnam vet places flags on graves to honor fallen soldiers on Memorial Day

Posted May 25, 2018 5:33 p.m. EDT
Updated May 25, 2018 5:34 p.m. EDT

— Every year Army Veteran Erlee Smith spends hours walking cemeteries around the Triangle looking for graves of veterans. He wants to make sure every man and woman who served the country has a flag on Memorial Day.

"We have a problem over the years. Everyone looks at Memorial Day as the start of the summer vacation season. We look at this day as a day of remembrance," said Smith, who served in two tours in Vietnam.

He's been putting flags at the graves of fallen soldiers for the past 15 years as part of his Veterans of Foreign Wars post.

"Unfortunately there are many many of these veteran's graves where no one will visit and no one will place a flag. We are trying to end that," he said.

Smith feels it's his duty to remember the soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice and often finds small and forgotten cemeteries to place flags.

"It's really what we look at Memorial Day being for," Smith said.