In the spring of 2011, the Legionnaires of Frank Gladd Post #20, Fort Gibson, Oklahoma had a vision to establish a monument honoring the 25,000 veterans and their spouses buried in the Fort Gibson National Cemetery. This monument would consist of American Flags twelve feet apart along a two-mile stretch of road leading to the National Cemetery. After preliminary measuring it was determined that a total of 600 flags were needed to complete the project - 600 flags means 600 holes and 600 bases. At first blush this seems to be a daunting task, but like the journey of one-thousand miles begins with one step, the project’s first hole was dug September 11, 2011 and the final hole for stage one of the project was completed a week before Veterans Day.
On the historic day of November 11, 2011, the Trail of Honor Flags monument was first seen by the residents of Fort Gibson. What an awe-inspiring sight it was, the workers putting the flags into their bases along the road observed that the preponderance of motorists passing by would flash their lights and honk their horns in approval. The community came out in full force to help in the placing of the flags: high school sports teams, Boy Scout troops, church groups both youth and adult and a rehab center all pitched in to put up and take down the flags that Veterans Day.
In the intervening years, changes and improvements have been made to the monument. The bases were completely redesigned, which meant 600 new holes and 600 new bases, and this task is about 80% complete. The original 8-foot wood flag staffs were replaced with 10-foot metal staffs and three trailers were built to store and transport the flags. In the summer of 2019 Trail of Honor Flags Inc. (a 501(c)3) was established to manage the monument and to help it grow into a world class exhibit honoring the Veterans buried in the Fort Gibson National Cemetery.