Origin of the Avenue

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




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

Hillcrest Memorial Park

Hillcrest Memorial ParkFlags seen through the gazebo

Hillcrest Memorial Park was established in 1935 on 46 acres in what was then a rural Pennsylvania township. It is now in the center of Hermitage, PA, which grew up around it. Tom Flynn bought the cemetery in 1977, adding 36 acres through the years.

The very next year, a six-acre section was dedicated to the burial of veterans, with monuments in honor of veterans of World War I, World War II, and Vietnam. Those were followed by a War on Terror Veterans Memorial, which is now the centerpiece of the park.

Read more . . .