FAIRMONT, W.Va. – 3,800 flags were planted at Fairmont State University in a ceremony to celebrate and commemorate veterans with the help of students, veterans and members of a church.
Members of the Clarksburg LifePointe Church worked in collaboration with the university’s Veteran Services to plant the flags in the quad in front of the education building. Sandy Coleman is the veteran certifying official and advocate and said her office had been planting flags since 2015.
The number of flags wasn’t directly representative of anything, Coleman said, just the amount needed to fill the space. Coleman said her office chooses a different group to work with each year for the ceremony and said she would have done it anyway if no one else showed up because the event was close to her heart.
“It’s very significant because I come from a family of veterans, my dad, my brothers and my sons plus I am very patriotic,” Coleman said. “I was raised in a home that honored the flag and to see the veterans and have them come to me and other people and say what a neat thing it was to see all these flags and how much it stirred them has just really been a good thing.”
Three of the church members were veterans and of those three, two are students at Fairmont State. Arthur Osborne is a Marine Corps veteran who served from 1984-1988 and said he’s a first-year student studying Sociology. Osborne said he wants to be a social worker so that he can give back to the community that’s been supportive of him.
Until then, Osborne said it was amazing just to be given an opportunity to plant flags for the country he loves.
“It’s amazing, I’m here with my church and I just think it’s awesome that I get to give back for everything that’s been given to me,” he said. “They really take care of the veterans here, they really do a lot for us and I’m just so grateful and thankful that I can serve my country.”
He said it was great to be a part of the ceremony because it shows an appreciation, from the university, for him and other veterans.
The flags will stay up for at least a week, through Veterans Day, Coleman said. She said her hope was to continue planting flags and to keep helping veterans each year.