On a rainy Thursday evening the Thunderbird District of the Cascade Pacific Council converged on Willamette National Cemetery. If they didn’t come the 140,000 grave markers would go without a flag this Memorial Day. For 44 years the Thunderbird District has placed flags on the graves at Willamette. Over those 44 years the Scouts of the District have seen the number of flags increase. In 1968 when the District started placing the flags our Nation was burying young men killed in action in Vietnam. They were serving our community by honoring World War I veterans that were being interned at this hallowed ground. Then the Cold War saw routine burials of World War II Veterans followed by Korean War Veterans.
Today the grounds have swelled and expanded from 201 acres to 301 acres. A new section is filling with Veterans from the Vietnam era and new grave markers host men and women from Iraq and Afghanistan. I hope we will not have to expand the cemetery further.
This evening in a steady rain my Troop placed flags in section F. That is our section, the area we place flags in every year. Each year, as the Troop grows, we cover the area a little faster, but not without reverence and a sense of thankfulness for the reason these men and women are buried at Willamette National Cemetery. They all served and so we in turn will continue to serve.
As a Veteran and Scoutmaster, I am so very proud of the Scouts of not only my Troop, but the Packs, Troops, and Crews from our District. The dedication of these Scouts and Scouters to place these flags is special to me and to the families that will be paying their respects, the visitors to loved ones, the children of a Veteran, and the passer-by that stops into Willamette to see what this is all about.
Tonight our Scouts practiced a very important part of being a citizen. Love for our Country and our fellow Countrymen.
Watching the Scouts tonight renewed my belief in our young people. Thank you Scouts!
Have a Great Scouting Day!
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