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Flagholders for Veterans

Who receives a flagholder and when are they placed on the graves?

Every honorably discharged veteran of the United States military is entitled to have a flagholder noting the war during which they served placed at their grave. From just prior to Memorial Day until just after September 11, the Veterans Administration arranges for a U.S. flag to be flown in each holder. The VFW, American Legion, and the Boy Scouts are some of the army of volunteers who spend Saturdays in May placing the flags.

The Erie County Veterans Affairs office provides this service. If you lose a loved one who was a veteran, ask your Funeral Director to make sure the appropriate holder is placed at the grave.

How can I help?

As U.S. citizens we pay for this flagholder service with our taxes. Flagholders were once made of bronze and were quite heavy. They are now made of lighter “white metal” because people steal the holders and scrap them for money.

If you see someone stealing flagholders, first, ensure that you are safe. Then call our office, or call the police. Stealing or scrapping flagholders is against the law. These flags are a powerful display of the commitment made by men and women in serving our country. We hope you will join us in protecting the flags and flagholders, and thus honoring our Veterans.

What should I do? My loved one is missing his flagholder.

The Veteran’s Administration limits the number of flagholders they provide to one per Veteran. The VA cannot replace stolen holders. Contact the cemetery office — if we have a spare we might be able to replace the flagholder.

What should I do? My loved one’s flagholder is missing the flag.

Flags are flown between Memorial Day and Patriot’s Day (May 31 – September 11). If your flag disappears during the summer, first of all….is the pole still there, and only the flag gone? If so, the culprit is probably a squirrel, looking for bedding material! In any case, call the office, and if we have a spare flag, we will place it for you.

My loved one served for a different country. Where is his (or her) flag and holder?

Flags and holders are provided by the U.S. government, to honor United States Veterans and their service. It would be neither accurate, nor appropriate to put the U.S. flag over the grave of a veteran of another country.

Since a 1958 ruling by our Congress, Veterans who fought for the Confederacy in the U.S. Civil War are considered United States Veterans, and it is appropriate for the Civil War flagholder and the United States flag to be placed at their graves.