In the “pay it forward” department, a 1981 Peabody High School graduate and his family made a couple of trips from Salina to Peabody this past week to help with the annual installation of the Avenue of Flags at Prairie Lawn Cemetery.
David Cooper, wife Kim, and daughters Liza, 16, and Randi, 13, helped erect flagpoles Tuesday evening.
They planned to return Friday to help attach the flags, but weather deteriorated rapidly and American Legion officers postponed the process until 8 a.m. Saturday.
The day dawned bright and sunny, and a large group, including the four Coopers, showed up. The flag installation was completed by 9:15.
David’s parents, Lowell and Alice Cooper, are buried at Prairie Lawn. Lowell was a veteran of World War II.
“We come back often,” David said. During the Memorial Day weekend we decorate the graves and we always enjoy seeing the flags.
“And we still own the properties farmed by my family, so we are in Peabody from time to time for other reasons as well.
“But this year we decided to get in touch with the American Legion and volunteer to help. The Avenue of Flags is a great tribute to all veterans.”
Kim regards it as one of the better flag avenues the couple has seen.
“It is so well done and very moving with a breeze fluttering all the flags,” she said. “It is nice to be a part of the process, and we think it is important for the girls since David’s folks were both gone before Liza and Randi came along.”
Lowell Cooper was in the Army Air Corps and was stationed at Great Ashfield, England, with the U.S. 8th Air Force, 385th Bomb Group. He was a co-pilot and flew 25 bombing runs into Germany from Great Britain.
“My father never talked about his time in the service,” David said. “I did some research about his group and found out most of their bombing runs were during daylight hours and were considered a bit dicey. I should have asked more questions.
“We are glad to be a part of this tradition for my dad and all the veterans buried here. We’ll be back to help again.”