MILFORD, MASS. (WHDH) - An annual Fly the Flag fundraiser is back this year in Milford and nearby communities as the Milford Salvation Army aims to honor veterans while gathering support for its nonprofit social work program.

Through Fly the Flag, more than 500 flags are installed on home and business lawns in Milford, Hopedale and Mendon. The first of three annual installations runs from May 20 through July 12 and coincides with Memorial Day, Flag Day and Independence Day. It is followed by other installations around Labor Day and September 11; and Veterans Day. 

In the basement of the Milford Salvation Army facility, Stuart Downes works on an assembly line where he puts together the flags for the display. 

“Some people rent flags because they have nationalism, pride in their country,” he said. “Other people served in the military or loved ones served in the military. There’s all sorts of motivations.”

Flag displays around Milford include a field of flags at Draper Memorial Park, each one of them featuring a service member and the years and branches in which they served or are currently serving. 

“It’s really an amazing thing when you just drive around town and you see the flags displayed and blowing in the wind everywhere you go,” said Captain Kevin Polito at the Salvation Army. 

Other displays in Milford include a series of flags at Buma-Sargeant Funeral Home. 

Through the Fly the Flag program, community members can sponsor one or multiple flags. 

“Helping people is the number one motivation behind Christianity and behind the Salvation Army’s work,” Downes said. 

While this year’s first Fly the Flag display continued to take shape Thursday, those in the community coming out to take in the sight said it is an honor to simply be able to bear witness to all the names that are honored. 

“It’s amazing the work that they do every year putting them up,” said Milford resident Patty Miles. 

Learn more about the Fly the Flag program through the Salvation Army website.

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