UPDATE: 05/26/2020, 4:48 p.m. — A previous version of this story stated Terry and his father Ronald Cashatt were not veterans. Terry is a veteran but his father is not.
BROOKFIELD, Mo. – If you visit cemeteries during the Memorial Day holiday, lines of American flags typically bristle in the wind above blue skies. Those who served and sacrificed for our country, are denoted with flags placed near their gravestone. It’s a solemn, beautiful and dignified reminder that special people – our American veterans – are buried there.
So, when the flags stopped flying in both Brookfield’s cemeteries, man and his father took up the task to carefully place our nation’s flag on every grave of those who served our country – going back to the Civil War.
Even though Terry Cashatt and his father, Ronald, aren’t veterans they felt it was their call of duty.
“We looked around and I said, ‘nobody’s putting out flags out anymore.’ And I thought maybe we can do it, Cashatt said.
It was small gesture at first when Terry and his dad began in 2000. But over the past 21 seasons, their efforts have grown.
“We probably did 30 or 40 the first year,” he said, “but in a couple of years, we re doing everybody at these cemeteries.”
Everybody is around 700 flags, he said.
Cashatt performs this annual ritual at Rose Hill, Brookfield’s large public cemetery. He also decorates the graves of Catholic veterans at St. Michael’s Cemetery and those who are buried in two smaller graveyards, just north of town.
To pay for the costs of the flags, Cashatt has used the proceeds of a book he compiled about Linn County veterans, but mostly he pays for the project out of pocket.
Preparing for memorial day starts in early April, Cashatt said, to retire Old Colors and to purchase replacements. His enthusiasm to honor those who served and sacred has is shared with his entire family. He hopes, one day, his grown children will continue the tradition.