FARMINGTON – A group of volunteers is raising the funds to install a flag in the Fairview Cemetery on High Street. The flag will be placed in the strip of the cemetery between High Street and Route 2 to honor the veterans and others who are buried there. The fundraising is organized by a committee formed by Debra Daggett and her partner Peter Beane.
During the summer of 2020, Daggett and Beane went out to dinner at the Common Man Restaurant in Ashland, New Hampshire. On their way, they passed a cemetery with a flag flying in the wind above the graves — a sight that greatly moved Daggett and Beane.
“The flag was so respectful to the veterans and those buried there,” Daggett recalled. “At dinner we thought about our own Fairview Cemetery next to the fairgrounds and how wonderful it would be if there could be a beautiful flag flying high in Farmington.”
They began to mention their idea to friends and were met with support. They formed a committee to raise funds for a flag installation, the Flying Flag Fairview Cemetery Fund. On the recommendation of former town manager Christian Waller, Daggett and Beane brought their idea to the Farmington Selectboard, who gave their approval for the committee to raise funds for the flag. To cover the costs of the flag, a durable aluminum pole, lighting and maintenance, they need to raise $5,000.
Farmington Public Works Manager Phil Hutchins will install and maintain the flagpole. Parks and Recreation staff member Emily O’Donnell will be a consultant in designing the small garden beneath the pole. Once the garden is planted Daggett will volunteer to water and take care of the plants.
“This welcoming, patriotic flag placed in the center of the Fairview Cemetery will commemorate all our veterans and loved ones buried there from Farmington and surrounding towns,” Daggett said. “Passersby when seeing the flag will remember their contribution and feel connected.”
Daggett has many family members buried in Fairview Cemetery, including her mother and sister. She often visits them, maintaining their gravesites and remembering their lives. She hopes that people from all around the area who have relatives and loved ones buried in Fairview to support this project, honoring veterans and others who have passed on with a beautiful flag. Daggett and the committee are not looking for recognition.
“The focus is to reach the people connected to their loved ones and veterans buried in the Fairview Cemetery that would have an interest in seeing a flag flying high,” Daggett said. “And I always tell people this cemetery is dying (or crying) for a flag.”
The committee hopes to raise the flag before Memorial Day so that all who visit their loved ones can enjoy the flag. This means that the funds must be raised by April 1st. They want to emphasize that this flag is patriotic, not political, and encourage you to be a part of this effort to honor the community’s loved ones no matter your political beliefs or affiliations.
Daggett, along with the rest of the volunteers, wants to encourage everyone to donate, no matter how small. “Any size donation would be greatly appreciated and helpful to reach the goal,” Daggett said. “It’s the people who all give a little that adds up to cover the expense.”
Tax-deductible donations can be dropped off at the Farmington Town Office or mailed to the Town of Farmington-Flag Fund, 153 Farmington Falls Road, Farmington, Maine 04938. Checks can be made payable to the Town of Farmington with a memo for the Fairview Flag Fund.