ALIYA HALL/THE CHRONICLEResidents, staff and veterans gather to raise a new flag on Veterans Day at Woodside Assisted Living on Main Street.

SPRINGFIELD – Changing out a flag on Veterans Day may not seem like a big deal, but the gesture means more than you might think. 

To showcase appreciation on Veterans Day, last week the Springfield VFW met to change out a flag at Woodside Assisted Living on Main Street. Woodside administrator Sherry Hogan said that its flag needed a refresher, particularly after all the wildfire smoke.

Susan Wakefield, community relations director, said Woodside has eight veteran residents and staff wanted them to know they are appreciated. 

“Especially right now with COVID and people having to be separated from families and traditions … It’s important to consider some form of a new normal to honor them,” said Kelly LeBarre, life enrichment coordinator. 

Inside the facility, administrators also erected a Wall of Heroes to commemorate their veteran residents. 

In other parts of Springfield, businesses showed their support for Veterans Day by purchasing a flag subscription from Kiwanis, which helps fund Kiwanis scholarships. Bob Beck, who is the chairman for that project as well as the Creswell VFW vice commander, said that Kiwanis has been doing this for four years after it took it from a former 2030 club member who put out the flags after the club disbanded. 

“Myself being a vet, I said, ‘If our club will pick this up, I’ll spearhead it,’” he said. 

Kiwanis posts the flags on the nine major holidays of the year. Beck said that it’s a way of honoring veterans and reminding people that the flag is important to them and should be important to everyone. 

“It’s good to drive through town seeing the flags posted on the streets,” he said.

Along with being a retired Army veteran, Beck has deep military roots going all the way back to a lieutenant colonel leading at the battle of Bunker Hill. His father was a World War II veteran and also involved in VFW, and his brother and sons are also veterans. 

Due to the support that veterans need, even if they don’t admit it, Beck said it was important to him to show up and be a shoulder for injured veterans who are struggling both mentally and physically. 

“There’s a lot of things that are being done, unfortunately, not a lot of people are doing them,” he said. “It’s up to those who are willing to do it to pick up the slack and do what they can.”