COMSTOCK PARK, MICH., - A veteran decorated LZ Michigan's event at Fifth Third Ballpark with 148 American flags, as people paid their respects to fallen Vietnam soldiers Saturday.
"It's all done with a tape measure, so that all the flags are within a couple inches of where we want them," said Cmdr. Richard Rought, who served in Vietnam and runs the VFW post in Fremont. "For about a quarter mile, we have a flag every 20 feet."
Rought set up 127 flags around the ballpark and 21 smaller flags along the Vietnam memorial Wall that Heals. The wall is a half-size replica of the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C.
"[It's] very heartwarming to take a look... at this wall and to see all these symbols of our country framing it," Rought said. "It just looks good."
And beyond looks, it fills people with a sense of patriotism, he said.
"Every one of these 58,000 individuals who were killed in Vietnam were working for that flag," Rought said.
Four of those 58,220 people were in a unit with Helicopter Door Gunner Dave Rios, who served from 1970-1971.
"They had lost their lives during that flare mission," Rios said. "It meant a lot that volunteers took the time to line all these flags up out of respect for our fallen veterans."
Rought got help putting up the flags from SpartanNash, the grocery distributor and retailer that sponsored LZ Michigan.
"To see the flags when they enter the ballpark, see it when they leave the ballpark, I really think it just brings it full circle and enhances the whole experience," said Community Engagement Specialist Jamie Allen.
Rought said he also put up the flags to commemorate two of his friends.
"Flying the flag is honoring those gentlemen," he said. "It's worth it, highly worth it."
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