ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Roughly 200 people woke up before the sun on Saturday morning to help place more than 30,000 flags across Bay Pines National Cemetery in St. Petersburg. 

  • Headstones markes with small flag to honor the fallen
  • Families, organizations, scout troops placed the flags
  • More Pinellas County headlines

The goal was to mark each one of the headstones with a small flag, in order to honor each of the fallen. 

Among the groups of families, local organizations, and scout troops was Largo resident Bill Aldhizer. 

"I do it more than just this time of year, but it's difficult to be out here," said the U.S. Air Force veteran. 

Aldhizer visits the cemetery multiple times a year to pay his respects to his in-laws, Army veteran David Hanscom and his wife Doris. It's been particularly hard since Aldhizer lost his wife Roxane three years ago at age 61. 

"I just talk to them," he said. "Like they're still here and I tell them I miss them." 

It's the beauty and peace of Bay Pines National Cemetery that helped Aldhizer through his visit Saturday morning. 

Their souls are removed but they are here and they have found a beautiful place to be," he said. "I mean this is ... look around. Just beautiful."