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Bob Palmer Project Continues in Southeast

Volunteers gather during a prior Bob Palmer Day, when more than 1,300 American flags are placed on veterans’ graves throughout the Town of Southeast.

By John Duncan

Bob Palmer Day will take place April 28, when volunteers place more than 1,300 American flags on veterans’ graves in 13 Town of Southeast cemeteries. The day will start at 9 a.m. at the historic Milltown Cemetery, and continue at the Saint Lawrence and Methodist cemeteries at noon.

Robert Palmer was born in Brewster in May 1921, and died in October 2018 at the age of 97. He would have been 103 this Memorial Day.

Palmer served in the U.S. Army from August 1942 to December 1945, achieving the rank of platoon sergeant, commanding a 16-man gun section. During his service he earned the American Service Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Service Medal, the World War II Victory Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.

Following his WWII service, he joined the railroad and retired after 41 years with Conrail.

A life member of Brewster VFW Post 672, Palmer served for 20 years as chaplain of the post.

For 30 years leading up to each Memorial Day, Palmer categorized and organized the placing of more than 1,200 flags on the graves of veterans buried within the Town of Southeast – placing most flags by himself.

In 2012, at the age of 91, he decided it was time to have others take over the annual project.

To acknowledge his years of work, the Bob Palmer Project was born – not to duplicate his singular effort, but to follow Palmer’s intent.

Jack Duncan, a veteran and retired master sergeant, was named chairman of the Bob Palmer Project, and for the last dozen years lead a team effort from the community, including Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, the Elks Club, Lions Club, NY-Riders, Junior National Reserves Officers’ Training Corps and more.

The organization now places the 1,300-plus flags before each Memorial Day, to not only honor and remember veterans, but to honor Bob Palmer and his commitment to the community – and veterans.


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