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Avenue of Flags

September 7, 2022 - 8:16am


November 11, Veterans Day, will cap this year’s first-ever flag-raising Memorial Day ceremony, as the Avenue of Flags will be taken down at Western New York National Cemetery, William Joyce says.

Filled with interment flags that had either draped a veteran’s casket or accompanied a veteran’s urn to a final resting place, the Avenue is a traditional honor each year from Memorial to Veterans Day. It was installed in 2021 and inducted with a ceremony on May 29 of this year.

As director of Genesee County’s Veterans Services, Joyce gave his annual report Tuesday to the Human Services Committee, including how the inaugural flag ceremony went.

“It was well attended by the public and so well received. I know there wasn't much advertisement, but without the advertisement, there were still a lot of people present for in-ground burials. For cremation section 10 is now closed. It's due to its capacity. Now they're moving to Section nine. It's right next to it,” Joyce said. “And to this date, there have been 1,207 burials, that's as of today. And of those, I can proudly say I assisted 18 families with arrangements for burials at the National Cemetery.”

He is the only Memorial Council member in this area with authorization to arrange burials at the National Cemetery, he said. That just “broadens my scope on what I can do for the veterans and families,” he said.

A prior budget approval to purchase uniforms for the Honor Guard was well used, he said — “they spent every bit of that” — and Guardsmen now have a cohesive, professional appearance.

“They’re all looking the way they're supposed to out there, in the same uniform,” he said.

Two weeks ago he learned that the Department of the Army will pay volunteers $50 for every service they perform on behalf of fallen veterans. They will have to go through training first to become certified to perform services at the WNY National Cemetery, he said.

His office had 1,452 contacts and provided 5,321 client services during the past year, including help to file 106 veterans’ property tax exemptions. The first veteran burial at the new cemetery was on Oct. 18, 2020, and there has been an average of four to six per weekday ever since at the site at 1254 Indian Falls Road, Corfu, he said.

Construction has been ongoing to expand the original site due to a lack of capacity. Click here to see the latest drone flyover taken in August.

The Cemetery was approved in 2021 to display the Avenue of Flags from Armed Forces Day to the Saturday after Veterans Day. Joyce said that there will be an official ceremony on Nov. 12 to dispose of any flags that aren’t “serviceable,” he said.

Each flag had been presented to the next of kin of the veteran on behalf of the President of the United States and the branch of service the veteran served. Families donate their veterans’ interment flags to fly along the Avenue to represent their service and sacrifice to the country.     

The Memorial Council is responsible for the maintenance of the flags as well as collecting the donated flags.

For more information about the cemetery and related services, click HERE.

2021 File Photo of the Avenue of Flags at WNY National Cemetery in Corfu. Photo by Howard Owens.

June 11, 2021 - 5:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Avenue of Flags, wny national cemetery, pembroke, news, veterans.


Press release:

The Avenue of Flags is something National cemeteries display during Memorial Day. National cemeteries can either put small flags up at each marker or display an Avenue of Flags for Memorial Day. 

The Western New York National Cemetery has been recently approved to display the Avenue of Flags annually from Armed Forces Day (Third Saturday in May) to the Saturday after Veterans Day (Nov. 11).

Each flag that is flown along the Avenue has either draped a veteran's casket or accompanied a veteran's urn to their final resting place. These are known as interment flags.

Each flag has been presented to the next of kin of the veteran on behalf of the President of the United States and the branch of service the veteran served. Families donate their veterans interment flags to fly along the Avenue to represent their service and sacrifice to the country.     

The WNYNC Memorial Council is responsible for the maintenance of the flags as well as collecting the donated flags. The WNYNC Memorial Council is a newly developed council, begun within the last year to support the WNYNC.  

Photos by Howard Owens.




May 13, 2021 - 9:27am

Submitted photos and press release:

The Western New York National Cemetery in Corfu is open; creating a nearby resting place for our nation’s veterans. A unique feature there will be the Avenue of Flags.

The Veterans Administration only permits official U.S. interment flags, also known as casket flags, to be flown here. Store-bought flags are not authorized.

This presentation of flying interment flags, lining the lanes in the Cemetery, will augment the reverence and prestige of this distinguished place.

Although there are more than 155 national cemeteries, only two others have this unique style of presentation -- using interment flags exclusively. They are the Indiantown Gap National Cemetery in East Hanover Township, Lebanon County, Pa., and the Black Hills National Cemetery in Sturgis, S.D.

An interment flag may be donated -- by a family whose relatives were entitled to military honors at their funeral -- to the Western New York National Cemetery Memorial Council(501c3) for display on the Avenue of Flags.

Many families have donated their flags to be flown in honor of all veterans and as a tribute to their deceased loved one, regardless of where the veteran is buried.

The annual presentation is set up in Spring for several Federal holidays and retired for the season after Veterans Day (Nov. 11).

Volunteers Maintain the Integrity of the Avenue of Flags

It counts on the aid of volunteer teams to maintain its integrity through the summer. Teams inspect the flags and when one becomes unrepairable or serviceable, it is removed and a new flag is put in its place.

Weather-worn flags are retired with dignity and their ashes placed in the graves of veterans who are interred at the cemetery in the future. Your loved one’s cherished flag will always remain at the Western New York National Cemetery to pay tribute to all those who honorably served their country.

Invitation to Donate Your Interment Flag

The Western New York National Cemetery Memorial Council respectfully invites you to donate your treasured interment flag to the Avenue of Flags.

It will fly to honor your loved one’s memory and all departed veterans. Also, if you would consider a tax-deductible donation to support the equipment and upkeep for this program, or wish to become involved with the Memorial Council itself, please contact us at the numbers below.

The Memorial Council is a 501c3 organization. Membership is open to all individuals, groups and organizations that wish to:

  • support our mission, through the traditions of God and Country;
  • associate ourselves together on special occasions to honor our living veterans;
  • pay tribute to the memory of our military comrades and their eligible family members whose mortal remains have been interred on the hallowed grounds of the WNY National Cemetery in Corfu.

The Council will coordinate ceremonies and events with the Cemetery staff during the year and provide any support needed that honors the memory of our Brothers, Sisters and eligible family members.

Become a Member in Good Standing of the WNY Memorial Council

To become a Member in Good Standing with the WNY Memorial Council you may do so by sending in “Lifetime” membership dues of $30.

Checks are to be written to WNY Heroes with “WNY Memorial Council Dues” written on the memo line to ensure it is placed in the correct account. 

Mail them to: WNY Heroes 8205 Main St., Suite 1, Williamsville, NY 14221

This is also the protocol for any donations with “Flag Committee Donation” on the memo line. A letter of thanks will go out on our letterhead with WNY Heroes tax exempt number on it.

For membership information contact:

William R. Joyce -- WNY Cemetery Memorial Council President / Cochair Avenue of Flags Committee

For Avenue of Flags information contact:

Mark Janik -- Chairman Avenue of Flags Committee

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