Military heroes honored with flags at D-FW National Cemetery

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by SHON GABLES

WFAA

Posted on May 27, 2012 at 5:33 PM

Updated Sunday, May 27 at 9:03 PM

DALLAS — Under the hot Texas sun on Memorial Day weekend, volunteers like James Helmbrecht walked from one headstone to another to honor fallen heroes.

"It's the least we can do to honor these great guys," he said.

Helmbrecht, along with his daughter and father, volunteered to help plant 28,000 American flags Sunday at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.

He said he knew the project would be labor-intensive, but in many ways, he was unprepared for its emotional pull.

"It's very humbling... it's very humbling," Helmbrecht said, fighting back tears.

This is the first time in the 12-year history of the cemetery that fallen veterans at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery have been honored with flags placed in unison at each headstone.

Bob Fussner, who organized the awareness campaign, is humbled by the 900 volunteers who helped make it happen.

"I'm extremely happy," he said. "I love that they brought their children so they can actually learn... it can be a learning experience for them to know the cost of freedom."

Kathy O'Hara, whose father served in the Korean War and World War II, grabbed one of the donated flags, and — ever so gently — planted it deep beside her dad's final resting place. She said it symbolizes the respect that he deserves.

"It's the biggest honor that anyone could have," O'Hara said.

And now, American flags fluttering in the wind honors all war veterans on this solemn holiday.

"It's a sanctuary out here," O'Hara said. "It's wonderful. It's beautiful."

E-mail sgables@wfaa.com

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