For several years, Cub Scout Pack 28 has helped Creswell VFW set up for Memorial Day ceremonies. BLYTHE HOUG/PHOTO
Local Scouts and Creswell VFW Post 4039 members honor veterans – and particularly fallen and POW/MIA service members – each year out of a sense of conviction:
“Memorial Day’s importance must be understood by all who have benefited from veterans’ sacrifices, and there is a duty to continue imparting its significance to younger generations.”
VFW member Mike Green is charter representative to Post 4039’s sponsored Scout units: Cub Scout Pack 28 (Cubmaster David Laidlaw) and Boy Scout Troop 28 (Scoutmaster Keith Kopperud).
In recent years, Cub Scouts have assisted the VFW by setting up chairs for Memorial Day ceremonies in front of Creswell’s Veterans Memorial and, in the past, helping to place flags on veterans’ graves in the Pioneer Cemetery.
This allows Cub Scouts to put into action what they’ve learned about Memorial Day and Veterans Day from their den leaders, Cubmaster and Scout Handbook.
And at home. How interested the boys are in U.S. military history and patriotism “depends on their family,” said Pack 28 committee chair Blythe Houg. “The kids that have parents or grandparents who served or that talk about Memorial Day being a day of remembrance and not just a day off are definitely more interested or excited about it.”
By helping with patriotic observances, saying the Pledge of Allegiance at meetings and events, and learning more about their country and developing leadership skills as they grow in age and rank and earn community service-oriented merit badges, Cub and Boy Scouts also develop meaningful connections with VFW members.
“They learn that the VFW is not just an old building full of old people that are sometimes grumpy to little kids,” but that does important work to help veterans, Green said. Some local Boy Scouts are even “interested in doing some VFW facility improvements for their Eagle Projects,” he added.
The takeaway: Service to country and community are key values never too early to impart.
“Getting young kids involved with Memorial Day teaches kids that freedom is not free, and it could cost a person’s life, and that it is important to pass this on to the next generation,” Green said. “Also, it teaches the importance of serving others; you have to humble yourself to serve others.”
“Memorial Day is a day to honor those who served in the Armed Forces and how they were willing to risk their lives, and remembering all the people who gave their lives so we can all enjoy our freedom,” Houg said. “Their country asked, and they went, and made that sacrifice.”