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Military family places 500 flags to honor fallen heroes on Memorial Day

Posted at 6:33 PM, May 25, 2020

HAMBURG, N.Y. (WKBW) — Tributes for Memorial Day can be seen all over the country to pay respects to the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice. In WNY one military mother is making sure her son is never forgotten.

"Even though our military heroes are gone before us, we just want to make sure they are not forgotten," said Joy Cruz, who comes from a large military family.

She brings her grandchildren to the Field of Valor at the Lakeside Cemetery in Hamburg to remember their heroes. When she stopped by over the weekend, she noticed this year, there were no flags flying.

"It's a worldwide thing. I don't know if there was a shortage or if they couldn't get out and do it in time because of corona, I'm just not sure," said Cruz.

So she went to the store and bought every flag she could find. For two hours that morning, she and her grandkids placed 500 flags at gravestones of fallen heroes.

"I couldn't...I just couldn't walk away," said Cruz.

She has relatives from every branch, serving in World War II, Afghanistan and currently to help battle COVID-19. Her son Zygmund Johnson served in the Navy from 2012 to 2014. He passed away after his service in 2016 and every year since then, they bring a flag to his grave site.

"Every time we put a flag up, people were driving over here and seeing their families," said Bella Funke, Cruz's granddaughter, whose mother is serving in the Air Force.

Cruz felt it important to place a flag for each and every hero.

"It doesn't feel right just placing a flag on my son's, we wanted to make sure everyone who couldn't get here, elderly people, we wanted to make sure everyone had a flag," said Cruz.