L/CPL Robert J. Slattery, Marine Corps League Det #206, NEWSLETTER, Jun 2020 - #5
Flag Placing at Gates of Heaven - May 24th

This year again was different for our annual flag placing. Mike McCorry informed me that no flags were ordered because of the Covid-19 outbreak. Usually all the veteran organizations meet at Post 155 early in the morning (8am) and have a little coffee and donuts. As we leave one of each group’s members gets 12 x 18” flags for his group and then we go out to Gates of Heaven. There we are assigned several sections to find various veteran’s headstones and place a flag next to it. Slattery has about three or four sections. After we are done we head back over the Post 155 for some beer, soda, potatoe chips and hotdogs. 

This year none of the usual happened. I did receive a call from Ben Tucker asking if we were going to place flags as he and his family wanted to join us. I told him what was up as far as no flags were ordered. “Bummer” was his answer. I then told him I would see what I could do as I wanted to place flags also.

I called around and finally got a hold of someone from Fairleigh Dickinson University. We made a deal and I bought 180 flags. I knew that would not be enough, but Ben had about 40 so we could put a good dent in our sections we are responsible for. I told Ben I would meet them on Sunday the 24th at noon. 

At noon up drives Ben, his wife, Jackie and their three children, Benji (17), Gianna (15) and Kaylee (11). When one gets a chance to work with young people who are this patriotic you do not pass it up - especially when you want to do it also. So, our sections resident vets got their flags and everyone there was happy. 

While Ben and family were doing our sections, I headed over to place flags on the Slattery stone, the Marks stone (behind Slatters plot) and Chris Cosgrove’s grandfather’s stone. At the Slattery plot I met the grand-daughter of John Marks who happened to be there. She informed me that his grandson (also John Marks), was now attending USMC officer’s boot camp. I invited him (via her) to a meeting when he came back.

After giving out flags to other people not in our sections, Ben and group went over to Chris’ stone where we planted several more flags. While there several Marines came to pay their respects. I talked to one, a fellow named Rios however I did not get the others Marines name. He said they served with Cris in Fallujah in 2005.

It was a nice day and a well worth time spent with good people. I am sure that next year will be better.