SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Every Veterans Day, 39 American flags are put on display above Broughton Street in Savannah before the annual parade, but they once served a solemn purpose.
All 39 flags were once draped over the casket of a veteran from Chatham County.
The tradition goes back decades, to when Veterans Day was celebrated as Armistice Day in Savannah. The flags make up 13 strands total and honor untold stories from war.
“There’s one person still out there with World War I,” Jim Vejar, Veterans Council of Chatham County Senior Co-Chair, said. “But they represent World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Iraq campaign, the Iraq War, Afghanistan, and all of the wars leading up to it.”
Brett Petrea, president of the local 188 Pipefitters Union, said volunteers are extremely careful when they flags are raised and lowered. Broughton Street is blocked off as the flags are removed after the holiday.
“It’s a huge deal,” Petrea said. “I think that people need to take the time to, to honor it, to recognize it, and to realize the sacrifice behind everybody that’s served this country.”