SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – There are four days until Memorial Day, but commemorations are already happening throughout the Coastal Empire.
Catholic War Veterans Post 1943 engrave white crosses every year to honor fallen veterans on the days surrounding Memorial Day.
It started with 25 crosses in 2004. This year, there are 508. Each one is marked with a conflict, a service and a name.
The crosses will line the paths at Catholic Cemetery in Savannah until the Wednesday after Memorial Day.
“I’m honoring the folks that have served and have passed and done the ultimate sacrifice for our country and I think we need more of that,” said Billy Cope, the organization’s commander.
25 volunteers spent Wednesday morning hammering in the crosses and placing an American flag next to them. News 3 was there as one volunteer made the final adjustments.
“We go to war, we get shot, we get wounded, we get killed, separated from family, but worst of all — is to be forgotten,” said Jimmy Ray, a member of Catholic War Veterans. “When people drive through [Catholic Cemetary], nobody is forgotten on these crosses.”
Ray says crosses are placed in a random order to make sure of it.
By doing that, visitors are more likely to see each cross instead of searching for just one. He says the whole display gets at the very meaning of the holiday.
“Memorial Day ain’t for car sales or sofa sales or special sales. It’s to honor those that have served this country and have passed away,” said Ray.
Catholic War Veterans will host a mass at the cemetery on Thursday night. It starts at around 5 p.m. and it is encouraged that you bring your own chair, if there is not enough.
All are welcome.