Kennedy: Angels of the flag garden

Vicki Baross, left, and Dana Anderson tend the roadside memorial for five fallen servicemen near Amnicola Highway.
photo Mark Kennedy

Dana Anderson has small cuts and callouses on her hands from pulling weeds - 22 hours in one weekend alone.

For weeks, she has been fanatical about cleaning up around the little American flags planted in the grass near the entrance to the Tennessee Riverpark on Amnicola Highway.

Meanwhile, Vicki Baross, her helper, resolves to go home every day after her shift ends as a surgical tech at Erlanger hospital, but something - some force - keeps pulling her back to the Riverpark, day after day, until dusk melts into dark.

For seven weeks and counting, Anderson and Baross - strangers before the shootings of July 16 that killed five servicemen - have become women on a mission.