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Veterans Day Tradition – Ringgold places over 1,600 flags and crosses to honor late Catoosa County veterans

Every Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day, volunteers place flags and crosses throughout the city of Ringgold to represent those who went to war from Catoosa County.  A local VFW post started the tradition in 1970 before being shut down. The post had to sign an agreement to keep the flags in the city. there just 12 flags. Now, there are 1,730.

Former Mayor Joe Barger was in office for 40 years and believed making these flags more visible would educate people. “People don’t understand today what these people went through,” 88-year-old Barger said. To honor their service, Barger continued a tradition of planting flags and crosses with names and where they served in memory of deceased veterans from Catoosa County. “People like that sacrificed their lives knowing they were going to die,” Barger said. In 2006, Pete Pedigo felt obligated to get involved. “So many of these of people In either went to school with,” Pedigo said. “I know them or their parents.”

Next to the courthouse is a sacred place. The 50 flags and crosses in that spot represent those who died in action. As people drive by and see the red, white and blue, Barger wants people to remember one thing.”It’s not just the flags,” Barger said.”This is about people we’re trying to honor. “There is a call for this tradition to never die. “We’re going to need the help as we get older,” Pedigo said.”We’d love to have someone to carry it on.”  Each cross has a veteran’s name and their branch of service on it.

The flags will stay up for two weeks and volunteers will again be needed to take them down on Monday, Nov. 18, at 9 a.m.  Interested parties can call Ringgold City Hall (706-935-3061) with questions, and will be given the name and phone number of a volunteer who can provide more information.

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