The old flag pole at LaSalle Cemetery on East Rome Road near Chillicothe has reflected its age for many years as the soldiers and citizens of the area there have been honored each Memorial Day.
Again this year the veterans of VFW Post 4999, the Amvets Post 77, the American Legion Post 9 and the Sons of the American Legion and their associated auxiliaries will come to the cemetery at 9 a.m. on Memorial Day to honor those who have served their country in every branch of the service.
LaSalle Cemetery dates back to the 1700s. Soldiers from every conflict since then are buried there and soldiers from every war have over the years come there to honor their brethren in arms.
Until recently, the flag pole was rusty -— the silver had given way to brown rust and the rope that raised old glory had long ago rotted away. U.S. Army Veteran Spec. Rich Layne, 75, of rural Chillicothe, didn’t want to see another year come and go without the stars and stripes waving overhead and so he took it upon himself to paint the pole and restring the rope — and bring an added feature that not many cemeteries have.
“The flag pole was in sad shape,” said Layne. “So I decided to turn it into a star spangled flag pole.
“I painted 13 red and white stripes and a field of blue. I went to (U.S.) Rep. Darin LaHood’s office in Washington, (Illinois), and bought a flag that was flown over the capitol. You know, they fly a flag over the capitol for a few seconds and then people can buy them. This one was flown at the request of Mr. LaHood.”
Layne found that it was a daunting task to get to the top of the flag pole to restring the rope for the flag, but he did it. The 3-by-5-foot flag now flies at the cemetery. The flag was flown over the Capitol on May 3.
Layne served in the Army from 1964 to 1967 in Berlin, Germany, at Andrews Barracks