Time Magazine 1/26/1981 ©1981Time Inc. Used under license.

On November 4, 1979, an Iranian mob invaded the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. They remained there until January 20, 1981, holding 52 Americans hostage. On the 100th day, 100 flags were raised along the avenue into Hillcrest Memorial Park, Hermitage, PA. One more flag was raised every day until the hostages were released, 444 days after they had been taken.

Time magazine featured a photo of the flags on the cover of its next issue. Since then, 444 flags have continued to fly along the Avenue as a tribute to all veterans and as a reminder that freedom isn't free.

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Honoring Veterans

Through this web site, the Avenue of 444 Flags extends beyond the gates of Hillcrest Memorial Park to the very ends of the earth. Our hope is that it will touch your minds and your hearts to lift your understanding, appreciation, and knowledge of veterans, and most importantly, your compassion for them.

We honor veterans in many ways.

God bless the United States of America and those who sacrifice themselves to maintain it as the greatest nation on earth.

First Interment

Video of the First Interment Ceremony in the Avenue's Cremation Garden

Avenue of 444 Flags on a frosty day

Almost immediately after buying Hillcrest Memorial Park in 1977, Tom Flynn began to establish it as a special place for veterans. On Veterans Day, 1978, the sixtieth anniversary of the end of World War I, he set aside a six-acre section for the burial of veterans. During 1980 and 1981, he coordinated the raising of the flags along the Avenue. In 2005, he directed the construction of the War on Terror Veterans Memorial. And in 2013, he began to inter the cremated remains of veterans among the flags around the War on Terror Veterans Memorial.

Since 1977, Tom has added 36 acres to the cemetery, built the Hillcrest/Flynn Pet Funeral Home and Crematory, and set aside sections of the cemetery for the burial of pets alone or pets with their owners.

More . . .