By Debbie Adams
Vinton area scouts commemorated Veterans Day 2020 by planting flags at Mountain View Cemetery on the graves of those who have served in the armed forces. The scouts also plant the flags each year for Memorial Day as a service project. This has become a tradition for the local scouts who belong to the Great Valley District of the Blue Ridge Mountains Council.
The majority of scouts at the cemetery on November 7 were from Vinton Troop 235 with Scoutmaster Brian Cook leading the way.
Local scout officials including Great Valley District Commissioner Anthony Whitaker, Great Valley Assistant District Commissioner Richard Cohen, and Greg Leslie, Committee Chairman for Troop 235, assisted in the project as well.
The Scouts scattered out across the cemetery searching for markers of all those who had served their country in the military. In past years, about 1000 flags have been planted on each occasion.
Scout leaders and Scout parents say the flag planting activity provides a lesson in citizenship and patriotism for the Scouts. Patriotism, citizenship, and community service are core elements of the Scout experience.
“For myself, it’s a nice way to remember all the sacrifices that veterans for hundreds of years have made for our country and others across the world and for me to pay homage to my father, who was a World war II veteran,” said Cohen.
The local scouts have not been able to participate in many of their usual activities in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so this was an opportunity to get out in the fresh air with fellow scouts and complete a most meaningful service project. In most years, the scouts also participate in the Veterans Day Parade in Roanoke, which has been cancelled for this year.
Troop 235 meets on Tuesday nights from 7:15 to 8:30 p.m. in the Scout Building located in the lower parking lot at Thrasher Memorial United Methodist Church. They are ramping up activities again after being forced to limit gatherings and activities to electronic Zoom meetings due to COVID. New members are always welcome. Stop by.