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"Flags for Fallen Soldiers" honors veterans

Over 600 flags on display in front of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Church represent veterans lost to suicide each month.

Posted: Nov 11, 2018 11:20 PM
Updated: Nov 11, 2018 11:35 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo) A special flag display located at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Church features 660 flags, each representing a veteran lost to suicide every month.

On the church's front lawn lies hundreds of American flags, each representing a fallen veteran. What sets the display apart from others is that it honors those whose real battle was within.

"There’s so much pain and anguish that many veterans face when they return," Lynn Brown, organizer of the flag display, said. 

Brown, along with her husband David are part of Flags For Forgotten Soldiers. The organization was started in March of 2017 in honor of the Browns' nephew, Staff Sgt. Joshua Barry, who died by suicide. Sgt. Barry's suicide was the result of a long battle with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) he encountered after being involved in the Fort Hood Shooting in 2009.

Sgt. Barry's story is just one of many.

"As they come home, they’re still fighting the battle as it were of the heart and mind." Christian Malewski, Father, Our Lady of Guadalupe, said. 

Brown said the pain that can come from just one suicide is too much to bear for one family, she said knowing there are so many that go through it every month, leaves her devastated.

"[We're losing] too many people every month," Brown said. "Each flag represents a life, someone who’s no longer with us." 

Brown said she wants to spread a message starting a conversation she hopes will lead to more lives saved, and less flags reserved for suicide victims. 

"Our hope is that with this display, maybe someone will make a different choice," Brown said. 

The flags will be on display at the church for the entire month of November. The Browns said they want to work with the city of St. Joseph to bring them to more locations around town.

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Comfortable and mild conditions are set to continue today with highs in the upper 70s and lower 80s under partly cloudy skies. Winds will be a bit breezy today with gusts up to 25 mph. A weak cold front will move through the area later this evening. Clouds will build into the area today as the front passes. A few isolated areas of light rain can’t be ruled out as the front moves through. Temperatures will remain in the 70s on Saturday under mostly sunny skies. Temperatures will really start to warm up on Sunday with highs in the upper 80s. Above average temperatures will continue through the beginning of next week as sunny and dry weather remains.
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