A 10-year-old Redding boy who has been placing U.S. flags and red carnation plastic flowers on the graves of veterans at the Redding Memorial Park since Veterans Day was broken-hearted Sunday when he discovered all his flags had been removed.
"It was so awful," said April Sharp, the mother of Columbia Elementary School fourth-grader Preston Sharp.
Initially told the flags were tossed away to accommodate the mowing of the cemetery's grounds, Sharp said cemetery officials later said they did not throw them away and would return them to Preston.
"First they said they threw them away, now they said they still have them," Sharp said.
It didn't make much sense to her, she said, noting that none of the plastic carnations her son placed at the graves of the veterans were touched.
A cemetery spokeswoman was in a meeting in Sacramento on Thursday and was unavailable for comment.
He noticed then the lack of flags or flowers on the graves to honor local veterans and decided to take it upon himself to correct that oversight.
Not including the 600 flags removed and that will be replaced on Sunday, Preston placed an additional 540 flags on the graves of veterans on the same day he learned the initial flags were removed.
It's his goal to place flowers and flags on all of the graves of veterans at Redding Memorial Park.
When asked why he started his patriotic mission to honor veterans with flags and flowers, Preston said, "Because they risked their lives for us and our country."
"It's great what my son is doing," she said. "I am extremely proud."
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