Mattie plants flags

Mattie Rechkemmer places a flag at Woodlawn Cemetery in Oelwein Thursday morning in preparation for Memorial Day.


The American Legion Post 9 sponsored a volunteer effort to install small American flags next to gravestones of veterans at the Woodlawn Cemetery. On Thursday morning, eight volunteers joined organizers Sharon Link and Jake Blitsch.

Lindsey Rechkemmer, who with her two children – Landon, 11, and Mattie, 8 – participated, said that she was able to bring the children out today due to her having to stay home from work at Upper Iowa University as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The pandemic led to the post canceling its Memorial Day program as well as Honor Guard and Legion Auxiliary’s morning trek that day from Oakdale Cemetery, Lake Oelwein, Florals Hills and Veterans Park.

“As with many others cancelling programs of rich and lengthy duration because of this evil virus, we don’t want to expose attendees to potential sickness or worse,” Blitsch said in an announcement earlier this month.

“We are disappointed for many reasons, but mostly being unable to honor those who have passed before us, in a community setting,” he added.

Volunteers took safety precautions to install the flags at Woodlawn.