Continuing a decadelong tradition, veterans of the nation’s armed forces, their families and community volunteers gathered early on Veterans Day to raise the nation’s flags on the 64 poles that comprise the Avenue of the Flags in the Ponchatoula Cemetery.

A number of civic and veterans organizations came together 10 years ago to create the Avenue of the Flags. At the base of each flagpole are bronze plaques containing the names of veterans who have served in the armed forces over the years. Traditionally, family members of those named on the flagpoles visit the cemetery on Veterans Day to pay tribute to their relatives and friends who served their country.

Brian Fladmo, commander of American Legion Post 47, called the group to attention and led in the Pledge of Allegiance that was followed with a prayer.

In his remarks, Fladmo recounted the history of Veterans Day, pointing out that until 1954, it was known as Armistice Day. It recalled the day when World War I ended at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of the year 1918. Since then, that day has been set aside as a day of remembrance for veterans.

“We are here today to remember and to honor those who wore the uniform in service to our nation. What we do here today is very important because we must constantly remind our fellow citizens that it was the veterans of our nation's wars who have guaranteed the freedoms that we all enjoy," Fladmo said. "Let us resolve, once again, to always remember and respect what our brave veterans did for all of our citizens who still enjoy being part of the greatest nation on Earth.”

The flags remained at the top of their staffs until late in the afternoon, when the volunteers returned to retrieve them. American Legion Post 47 maintains the flags that are sometimes also raised on other national holidays such as the Fourth of July.