RICHMOND, Va. -- A hill covered in thousands of American flags on the grounds of the Virginia War Memorial on Belvidere Street in Richmond is now empty after Boy Scouts and service members from Fort Greg-Adams removed the powerful display in just over 30 minutes on Friday.
The flags, which could not be packed away as quickly and efficiently as the last several years because of recent rain, symbols of every Virginia service member killed since World War II.
The flags are now lining the underground parking lot so they can dry out before being put away for next year.
"It is still quite a sight to walk multiple levels of that garage and gain an appreciation for just how many people from the Commonwealth have served and died for our country," reporter Bree Sison said.
For staff here at the War Memorial, the extra dry time might add some extra work. However, the effort is worth the opportunity to see Americans come together in support of one another.
"I'll never forget being in Iraq," Ben King with the Virginia War Memorial said. "We were in a situation where we were, we were on patrol, and we ended up surrounded. And the situation was was one where everyone was kind of circled the wagons, weapons are all facing out. And we call them for support. And you just see these Humvees show up and the American flag is just flying above them and you're just like, 'We got this.' It's just a good feeling... The American flag for me, I always get a sense of optimism when I see it."
Following the installation, the nonprofit Virginia War Memorial Foundation and corporate sponsors hosted a free community celebration for children and adults featuring military vehicles, crafts and educational activities, live music, and food.
Officials said the flags will get packed up in a few days once they have dried and can be properly stored.
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