Patriotic planting springs up again at Widewaters

May 26—For the second year in a row, a Lockport business owner is planting flags for an issue that hits close to home.

A total of 8,030 flags were planted by volunteers and employees at Marvins at Widewaters Restaurant in the City of Lockport to honor veterans this Memorial Day weekend.

"Each one represents a soul," owner Brandon Marvin explained.

Marvin and several of his family members have served in the military.

"Those are the people I think of when this comes up," he said.

Marvin said he decided on the number of flags after hearing an alarming statistic in a conversation he had with a fellow veteran — 22 veterans commit suicide in the United States everyday on average.

"It can seem like an insignificant number, but then you multiply that by 365," he said. "Those are people that came home from the war, but they didn't leave it all behind."

Aaron Hurst, manager at Widewaters, said having a physical representation of that number can help bring awareness to veterans and their struggles.

"It's about awareness more than anything," Hurst said. "They're people that died for what we have. So there's no question in my mind that they need to be thought about at the very least."

The flags were planted on Sunday, a day later than anticipated due to weather.

A crew of more than a dozen people showed up to help plant the flags in about two and a half hours according to volunteer John Lombardi.

In addition to saving the approximately 2,000 flags from last year's memorial, Lockport flag company, Grand New Flag supplied 5,000 flags for this year's memorial, while the Home Depot in Lockport supplied the remaining amount.

Hurst and Marvin both said several people stop by daily just to take a look at the flags.

"It reinforces the notion that it's needed and it's something people want to see," Marvin said.

The flags will be on display throughout Memorial Day Weekend next to Marvins at Widewaters, 767 Market St.