The tradition of school children placing flags on the graves of veterans at the cemetery dates to 1906, said Lisa Burks, a volunteer.
Today, there are more than 400 veterans’ graves marked with the wars in which they served, including the Civil War, the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
Frank Love, a Crescenta Valley High School graduate of 1968, drove with his mother, Clara Clemens Love, and sister, Terri Love, from their current home of Sacramento to visit the grave of his and Terri’s grandfather, Douglass Edward Clemens.
Clemens was an Army veteran who died at age 93 in 1995.
Clara Clemens Love said her father was one of six brothers. Five of them served in the military. He is remembered as a fun-loving man who enjoyed life.
“He lived so long because he didn’t take life so seriously,” she said. “So don’t take life so seriously. Enjoy it.”
Clemens Love and her son and daughter recalled fun and familiar stories as they tidied his grave. Clemens once played with dynamite as a boy and accidentally blew his fingertips off his hands.
“We can sit here and tell bad stories about him,” Clemens Love joked. “He’d be having just as much fun with us talking about him if he were alive.”
A veteran of World War I, Clemens began training for the Army near the war’s end and was never deployed to combat.
“It ended just in the nick of time, for him at least,” said Frank Love.
Clemens married his wife, Midora Clemens, in Colorado. They traveled by train to California in the 1930s and raised their two children in Glendale while he worked for the Southern California Gas Company. The couple remained in Glendale until they died.
Growing up, Frank Love recalled spending the weekends at his grandfather’s home. “He was a character,” he said. “He was a funny guy.”