"This is required by flag etiquette:" Greendale 'retires colors' for winter

GREENDALE (WITI) -- When the first flag was planted, no one in Greendale knew how big the make-shift memorial would get. But today, the flags were taken down -- not in vain, but in respect.

Supporters of the Greendale veterans memorial didn't think it was going to be such a long shot -- especially when you see up close, what they've already done.

"It just mushroomed, people just added flags, put them in lines and it took off from there," said Jerry Gardner, Greendale resident.

When a proposal to build a veterans memorial in Greendale was voted down, the flags started to show up.

"We tried yesterday to get a couple loose but we couldn't get them," said Gardner.

Jerry Gardner and his wife were some of the first residents to stake their claim. They were joined Saturday by a legion of volunteers.

"The purpose of today's ceremony is to remove the American flags," said a member of the Legion Post.

It's called "retiring the colors" and is customary so flags don't end up buried in the snow.

"This is required by flag etiquette," said a member of the Legion Post.

With this many people, it didn't take long.

"I'm glad to see this many people come out," said Gardner.

The future of a permanent memorial is unknown. But as for this one, call it 'makeshift.' Call it, 'impromptu', but in the end -- all it really means is respect.

Something that isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

The property is owned by the Greendale School District, which say it supports building a memorial -- but not in that location.

Related Stories:

"I'm every Marine:" Serviceman at proposed veterans memorial site stirs emotions

Grassroots effort blossoms, pushes for veterans memorial in Greendale 

Battle brewing in Greendale over placement of proposed veterans memorial