MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Many observe Memorial Day by honoring loved ones whose lives were lost at war, but some Minnesota families are honoring soldiers they never knew.

Karen and Jim McCollum are both veterans and they went to Fort Snelling National Cemetery on Memorial Day to adorn the graves of those that have nothing.

“It’s a tradition to us now,” Karen McCollum said. “We by flowers and put them on a grave for someone who doesn’t have anything.”

Jim McCollum said that visiting the cemetery humbles him and that he will be at the cemetery on Memorial Day for years to come.

“I just want to give back,” he said. “And this is small compared to what they have given.

Along with the McCollums, the Guimont family, of Andover, Minn., was also at the cemetery. With tote bags full of tiny flags, they planted thousands of flags next to the headstones. It is a tradition the Guimonts have been doing for 10 years.

“I think it’s important for the kids to understand the sacrifice that these people make,” Greg Guimont said.

One of the young Guimonts said he likes to look at the headstones and see where individual soldiers were from and how old there were when they died.

Guimont said the family tries to plant 2,000 flags every year.

For more from the families, watch the video put together by WCCO-TV photojournalist Bob Hernandez.

  1. Darren says:

    Awesome story. Every one of those soldiers deserves that! Thank you for doing that to remember those who gave their service and their sacrifice for our great country.