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Thousands of flags placed at graves at Rock Island National Cemetery

The annual tradition at Arsenal Island brought out more than 100 community members to cover 28,000 grave sites.

ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. — Thousands of flags now accompany grave sites at the Rock Island National Cemetery on Arsenal Island.

More than 100 volunteers helped place the flags at the 28,000 gravestones as part of an annual tradition.

Nine-year-old Jo Forgie came to the event for the first time on Friday, representing her Cub Scout Pack 109 based in Rock Island. Her mom and brother were there, too.

"We’re putting flags next to the gravestones to kind of represent them in a way," Jo said.

The family wants to make sure each name is not forgotten.

"It should be our responsibility in case they don’t have any family to come put these flags out here," Jo said.

Lisa Forgie, Jo's mother, said being part of a scouting family means honoring those who have come before them. It is also about honoring the Forgie family.

"We have lots of family," Lisa said. "I have aunts, uncles, they have a great grandparent out here."

It is a responsibility the family does not take lightly.

"These people are getting honored and I’m helping honor them which feels really really good," Jo said.

Jo said she plans to participate in the flag-placing event next year, too.

"There’s a lot of people who died to let us be the way we are," Jo said.

The Rock Island National Cemetery is hosting a Memorial Day celebration on Monday at 10:45 a.m. That ceremony will recognize veterans who have died in defense of our country.

To learn more about that event, and others around our area, click here.

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