SWFL veteran marks other veterans’ graves with flags to honor them

Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:

Veteran Trae Zipperer has one wish, and that’s to honor every single veteran that has been laid to rest at Fort Myers Cemetery.

“Unlike the national cemetery, where all of the headstones are identical, we know everyone buried there is a veteran or the spouse of a veteran. In our local and municipal cemeteries, we would have no idea that this man was a Civil War soldier, Union soldier. There’s no indication of that here,” Zipperer said.

For seven months now, Zipperer has made it his mission to clean and properly place American flags near each gravesite. One day, he noticed they’d been taken away.

“There are groups that put out flags for only Memorial Day, and so they believe that you can only have a flag at a veteran’s grave for Memorial Day, which I disagree with,” Zipperer said.

Zipperer has decided that he wants the federal government to change the U.S. flag code. Currently, it says it is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and stationary flagstaffs. There’s no mention of flagstaff at gravesites in the flag code.

Zipperer said, “It makes you feel sad.”

So his suggestion is to allow flags at gravesites 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“This is the reminder of these graves, of what sacrifices were made,” Zipperer said while pointing to the flag.

Changing the flag code is not easy. Zipperer would need a member of Congress to adopt his amendment, pass it in the House and Senate and have the president sign it.

But Zipperer believes that’s what needs to be done to honor these heroes.

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