As the month of May approaches, Veterans’ Grave Officers are getting ready for Memorial Day and the decorating of veterans’ graves. By law, every city and town in Massachusetts has a Veterans’ Grave Officer, who is a veteran and is appointed by the select board.
This process starts in February, when American Legion Post 257 orders the flags for five of the six towns of Martha’s Vineyard. Every part of the flag, including the staff, must be made in the U.S. Once the flags arrive, they are stored in the bethel until April, when the Veterans’ Grave Officers are notified where they can pick them up.
This starts the process, as in previous years, before COVID, VGOs have enlisted the help of children from different schools, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, or other veterans and family members.
Most veterans’ graves have a stone marker provided by the Veterans Administration with their name, branch of service, etc. Some graves just have a veterans’ or service marker that holds the flags. Some veterans’ graves don’t have either, and this can pose a problem if for some reason the flag goes missing. In this case, the family of the veteran should notify the town hall or the Graves Officer.
Veterans Graves Officers for Martha’s Vineyard
Aquinnah: Thomas Murphy
Chilmark: Lenny Jason
Edgartown: James Hagerty
Oak Bluffs: David Berube
Tisbury: Jo Ann Murphy
West Tisbury: Brian Athearn