Community members interested in honoring a loved one who served can have a flag flown in their honor on the Veterans Bridge. Ahead of Friday’s Armed Forces Day Parade, the City of Chattanooga is sharing a reminder that anyone who wants to honor a veteran can sponsor a flag on the Veterans Bridge.

“Twice a year - on Memorial Day and Veterans Day - we gather on the river bluff not simply to raise flags but more importantly, to recognize the individual veterans and their life stories that the flags represent. This is an incredible opportunity for Chattanoogans to honor or memorialize a veteran in their family,” said Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke.

As part of the Veterans Bridge Flag Initiative, a ceremony is held each Memorial Day and Veterans Day to honor our country’s service men and women. New American flags are raised on the bridge, which fly alongside the five permanent flags in memory of the four marines and sailor killed on July 16, 2015.

Mayor Berke launched the Veterans Bridge Flag Initiative in May 2014 to ensure those who so bravely served our country would continue to be honored. Prior to the Veterans Bridge Flag Initiative, an anonymous donor supplied all the funds annually for 10 years to replace each of the American flags hanging on Veterans Bridge – a total of about $40,000. The city created a way to continue this important tradition after being notified in 2013 that the anonymous donor could no longer continue to provide those funds.

Any group or person who wishes to honor a service man or woman can do so by donating the cost of a flag which is $75. Honorees receive a proclamation recognizing their service to the country and announcing the pole number from which their flag flies. Flags are up for six months and switched twice a year around Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

On Veterans Day of 2015, five permanent flags were raised in memory of the five fallen servicemen killed on July 16, 2015. The flags are on poles W6, W7, W8, W9, and W9 on the west side where there is a sidewalk, allowing people to visit and pay respects.

This year's spring Flag Raising Ceremony will take place on Monday, May 22, at 10:30 AM at the Sculpture Garden at Bluffview. Anyone interested in purchasing a flag in honor of a veteran, should contact the Chattanooga Department of Transportation at (423) 643-5950.