Passing on a legacy by raising a flag is a yearly tradition for Lt. Col. Chris Moretti.
"I make it a point now to teach it to my family, teach it to the young generation and then pass it on," Moretti said.
It was 68 years ago that Moretti's grandfather, Pfc. Joseph A'Hearn, died during World War II from injures suffered at the Battle of Iwo Jima.
Now, every February 27, Moretti raises the flag that came home with his grandfather's body.
On Wednesday, that flag was raised during a ceremony on Fort Drum.
It's something the proud soldier has done at military bases and posts throughout the world, including in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"The environment that you're in and the message that it's sending, it goes for all generations that have served," Moretti said.
That's why this personal ceremony is actually a tribute for all soldiers.
"To recognize that, we'll never forget the ultimate sacrifice that they paid for our freedom," he said.
It's a powerful message.
"To be able to do this for his granddad, and as well as the other fallen comrades, it was an honor," Erric Gordon said.
Moretti says he hopes to keep the tradition in the family.
"I'd love to pass it on to my son who, though he's still in high school, going through the ROTC program, my wishes would be to pass it on to him."
That way, Pfc. A'Hearn's flag will continue to fly once every year, honoring family and so much more.
Thursday, May 28, 2015, Watertown, NY
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