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Veterans' wall finds new home

Volunteers Jason and Dave Coalwell, as well as John Bredahl worked last Tuesday afternoon on the base of the new location of the Veterans' Memorial Wall in Oak Grove Cemetery. The wall had outgrown its former location at the main entrance of the cemetery and was moved near the north entrance. (Brian Basham/Record)

The Veteran's Memorial Wall at Oak Grove Cemetery in Detroit Lakes has a new permanent location. The wall, which had outgrown its former location at the main cemetery entrance, was moved to its new location next to the north entrance last week.

According to veteran volunteer Dave Coalwell, the Memorial Wall had seven panels of veterans' names with no room to expand. The new location will have room for 11 panels. Each panel holds 120 names of Becker County deceased veterans, he said.

The new permanent location for the wall will feature an American flag on one end and a P.O.W. flag on the other.

Along with several volunteers working on the new wall, Anderson Gravel donated the fill, Strata donated the concrete, and Wally Rodewald drilled the holes for the wall posts.

Coalwell and other volunteers also added 21 more flag posts for the annual Avenue of Flags on Memorial Day weekend. The new flag bases will replace some they lost to trees and damage, he said.

The annual display of the Avenue of Flags was nearly stopped several years ago, Coalwell said. Flags were falling into disrepair and donations of new veterans' funeral flags to replace the older ones had slowed down. There was also no money in the fund to purchase new flags.

"I had $46 left in the checkbook," Coalwell said.

After garnering some publicity, Coalwell said people stepped up and donated flags and money to help continue the Avenue of Flags.

Veterans and volunteers annually fly more than 500 American veterans' funeral flags in Oak Grove Cemetery over Memorial Day weekend. The flags will be put up on May 28 and taken down June 1 this year.