In your June 22 issue, T/Sgt. Kenle Phillips, USAF, wrote that he had visited the grave of a loved one in Payson Pioneer Cemetery and found the flag being flown at full staff, instead of half staff in honor of Past President Ronald Reagan. That flag was lowered to half staff on June 6, when our VFW friends lowered it.
Some of the Cemetery Board checks out the cemetery every day, sometimes two and three times, depending on what is going on at the time. We have a groundskeeper who checks it almost every day, and we have really good neighbors living around the cemetery who keep an eye on it also. Sometimes a gate gets left open, or a sprinkler needs to be moved, or one of a dozen things, and we all do our share. Sometimes the wind raises havoc with the flag, and perhaps one of the neighbors run it up, not thinking about the Reagan memorium.
T/Sgt. Phillips says in his letter that he was shocked to see the flag at full staff and hoped that the error would be corrected in a very timely manner.
We, of the Cemetery Board are shocked that Vernon Haught's grandson would not correct the error he saw in a timely manner by lowering the flag to half staff. Vernon would have just stepped over to the flag pole and corrected the flight of the flag. But then Vernon was a veteran of Bastogne and the Battle of the Bulge, 82nd Airborne, 101st Infantry, and never complained about anything, just carried on. What if the cemetery flag had been down on the ground instead of up full staff? What then? A letter to the editor?
As for the flag being flown in honor of the veterans. It is flown in honor of everyone buried there, including all of the veterans. We have veterans from six wars buried there. Some of them are also Pioneers that settled this part of the country.
We maintain the cemetery with volunteer help, and a man that we pay to mow, water prune, fill holes, spread gravel, etc. Our money comes from donations. We ask people who have someone buried there to send a $15 donation per family member on a yearly basis. The address is: Payson Pioneer Cemetery, 1200 W. Lake Dr., Payson, AZ 85541.
Perhaps T/Sgt. Phillips would like to donate on behalf of his loved ones buried there.
Payson Pioneer Cemetery Board