Centralia Fireside Guard

Follow Us On:

Despite challenges, Centralia veterans still raising flags

Posted on Tuesday, May 26, 2020 at 3:49 pm

They did not quit in the face of Afghanistan, Panama, Vietnam, Tojo’s Japan or Hitler’s Germany.

Now, Centralia’s veterans are not quitting in the face of COVID-19.

“We and the city had concerns about social distancing requirements with all the people that usually come out and help raise the avenue,” said Ed Torreyson of Centralia Chapter of the VFW, looking up from a row of tiny metal crosses.

Veterans Phylliss Vanderhook, left, and Gary Pillaschafske putting out flags

So, instead of Centralia’s historic Avenue of Flags, Torreyson, other veterans and their friends have erected more than 600 smaller flags, on one-foot-tall white metal crosses facing each other on both sides of Highway 22. Torreyson said they will place 303 in the Glendale Cemetery and 393 in the City Cemetery.

Each cross signifies a local veteran and is adorned with a small United States flag.

“In the previous years, we went around and put one of these at each veteran’s grave,” Torreyson said as rain clouds roiled overhead. “This year we are doing something different. Everything else is changing this year.”

Another example of that, he said, is this year’s annual salute to veterans will be held 6 p.m., Saturday, May 30 on the north side of the city cemetery. There will be no bleachers…

For the complete article, see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.