BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — As many Memorial Day ceremonies are different this year, two local groups are making sure veterans who’ve lost their lives are honored.
While you won’t see much a crowd at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military park this year, the message and memorial remains the same.
One life, one flag.
“Some people will see all the flags and say my isn’t this the most patriotic thing ever? And they’d be right. You know each one of these flags represents a soul,” said Mark Donnelly, president of the Battle Within Foundation.
“On the other hand, you look at these and you see sadness,” said Donnelly.
These flags represent the thousands of veterans who’ve committed suicide due to PTSD. The flags are part of The Battle Within Memorial, designed by Mark Donnelly. The Battle Within Foundation helps connect veterans who are struggling with PTSD with proper resources.
“I belong to the Masons and one of our Masonic brothers, after two tours in Afghanistan, came back and took his own life. He couldn’t take the pain anymore and that’s the only way he knew to make it go away,” said Donnelly.
The foundation has partnered with the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park for a socially distant Memorial Day weekend salute.
Donnelly says it’s to bring awareness to how many veterans have lost their lives after serving their country. He says every flag represents a parent, a wife, husband or friend who lost their loved one.
“These 7,300 flags actually represent millions but to look at all of them in mass, it’s beautiful and horrifying,” said Donnelly.
People can make a $20.20 donation to the Buffalo Naval Park. By making a donation, people will receive a certificate and one of the flags from this installation.
A portion of the proceeds goes toward the Battle Within Foundation. For more information click here.