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Hundreds of flags honor fallen military veterans


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SOUTH JORDAN — With Memorial Day approaching, a familiar sight is returning to the South Jordan Cemetery: the placement of hundreds of flags on the graves of military veterans.

When the tradition started here in the 1920's, World War I had come and gone. But they hadn't imagined how many Americans would have to serve, in so many wars, in so many places, since then.

Now, Hal and LaRae Naylor set up the flags, about 320 now, though the number keeps growing. The couple reads the obituaries every day looking for more veterans. Not all of them died in war, but they all served their country at some point in their lives.

"You think what them people went through, it's very little to be doing this for (them)," Hal Naylor said.

The tradition was started by a veteran from South Jordan, Corporal Robert Thomas, who has two flags at his grave today. He and his son performed flag duty in the cemetery for 60 years. The Naylors took over flag duty five years ago. They hope it will help people remember the right things on Memorial Day.

"It's kind of an honor, I think, to be able to do it for our veterans," LaRae Naylor said. "When you see the young guys come back from these different wars, it's hard to think that some of them have lost their lives. And we've got to appreciate that. It's part of our freedom."

The Naylors plan to carry on the tradition as long as they can, and then someone else will undoubtedly step into the breach.

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John Hollenhorst

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