White crosses may invoke memories of Sundays spent in church or

visits to the cemetery for a funeral, but in the rugged hands of Rick

Bremmer they are a symbol of so much more.

Bremmer, the post commander of VFW Post 966, and a number of other

VFW post members are currently in the process of remaking all 450

crosses that the post uses for decorating the graves of veterans at

William J. Ward Cemetery in Brookings.

"It's just something we want to do for the veterans and the people at

the cemetery," Bremmer said. "They can't speak for themselves, but we

can speak for them."

The crew from the VFW post has been putting crosses on veteran's graves for a number of years and the constant reuse of the old crosses was causing them to fall apart.

"The old crosses were stapled together, and wearing out," Bremmer explained. "We decided to make them bigger, stronger and heavier."

Bremmer and three other members of the VFW Post, Howard Jepson, Wade Hatfield and Jim Thebaut, were at the post building on Pacific Avenue Tuesday cutting, assembling, grinding and sanding the crosses.

Donations from Kerr's Ace Hardware, Home Depot and other Brookings businesses made construction of the crosses possible, Bremmer said.

In addition to the crosses that will be labeled with the religious choice of each veteran, the VFW post will place a number of large flags in the cemetery as an additional memorial to those who served their country in wars fought on foreign soil.

"The family members really like to see it," Jepson said when asked why he donated his time to take on such a large project. "It's important to remember those who served.

"And we like to do it."