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HAMPTON (AP) -- Dozens of people answered the call to help place flags Friday at the Hampton VA National Cemetery for Memorial Day.

The cemetery has 28,000 graves.

William Burton was one of those who helped.

It was great,' he posted on the WVEC13 Facebook page. 'I arrived and saw a traffic jam to pull into the cemetery. Fire fighters, retire, active duty military, young and old were all there placing flags. I was told the whole cemetery was completed within an hour.'

Longtime volunteer Cindi Verser told The Virginian-Pilot earlier this week that the Army's departure from nearby Fort Monroe has created a shortage of volunteers to do the annual tribute.

Last year, the contractor who maintains the grounds completed the task after only a couple dozen volunteers showed up. In the past, more than 100 volunteers participated.

This year, the small flags were placed at grave markers beginning at 8:00 a.m.

People posted their thank to the volunteers.

'My dad is buried there. Thank you for doing this!!,' wrote Marcia Clark Agena.

Gwendolyn Scearce Allen added, Tthanks for taking the time out of your day to place the flags on the graves. My Dad is buried there, so I will visit this weekend and see all of the flags waving in the wind.'

The cemetery has been closed to new burials since 1993. Its graves date to 1862.

Organizers say now that the flags have been placed, they'll need help Tuesday morning to remove them.

To volunteer, show up beginning at 8:00 a.m. at Cemetery Road and Marshall Avenue, which is on the campus of Hampton University.

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