In observance of the upcoming Veterans Day, local Scouts honored and remembered veterans buried at Mountain View Cemetery by placing flags on their graves.
The Scouts pay tribute to veterans in this way twice each year – on Veterans Day and Memorial Day. This has become a tradition for the local Scouts who are belong to the Great Valley District of the Blue Ridge Mountains Council.
Scouts from Packs 235, 30, and 18 and Troops 235, 18, and 540 in Vinton and Bedford County participated, along with their leaders and families on the afternoon of November 4.
Tony Whitaker, District Commissioner at the Blue Ridge Mountains Council, explained to the Scouts how to identify the graves they were looking for. In some cases, the graves of veterans are fairly easy to locate since newer markers usually indicate rank, branch of service and era in addition to the name. Older graves often are not identified as belonging to a veteran.
The boys and girls scattered out across the cemetery searching for markers of those who had served in the United States Armed Forces.
Christian Sparks from Troop 18 was able to plant a flag on the grave of his grandfather, Paul Nelson, who served during the Korean Conflict. Several generations of his family are buried at Mountain View.
The Scouts placed about 1,000 flags that afternoon.
Other leaders in attendance included Unit Commissioner Richard Cohen, Pack 235 Cubmaster Ryan Apple, and Troop 235 Scoutmaster Greg Leslie.
The local packs and troops will also be participating in the Blue Ridge Veterans Celebration at the Vinton War Memorial on Friday, November 9.
Guest speaker at that annual event will be John D. Long, who serves as the Education Director for the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford. He has served as an Instructor of History at Virginia Western Community College and Roanoke College, and as the Executive Director of the Salem Museum and Historical Society.
Long currently volunteers as a Den Leader with Pack 51 in Salem. He will be presenting “Boy Scouts Involvements and Contributions during World War II” followed by the District Flag Retirement Ceremony at the High Ground Monument at 7 p.m. Grommets will be presented to veterans who attend.
The Scouts will also be assisting with the Veteran Appreciation Dinner for veterans and their families prior to the flag retirement ceremony.
On Saturday, November 10, the local Scouts will have the opportunity to march in the Veterans Day Parade in downtown Roanoke.