Scouts honor Service Members with flags
By Molly Hayden Staff Writer | Hawaii Weekly
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — As the sun rose behind the Koolau Mountain Range, sleepy-eyed Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts gathered at the Post Cemetery, here, Monday, to honor fallen Soldiers and Family members for their greatest sacrifice.
In keeping with the Scout oath to “help keep the United States a strong and fair nation by learning about the system of government and responsibilities as a citizen,” scouts gathered in remembrance to honor Soldiers buried at the cemetery.
Bearing miniature flags and flowered lei, Scouts from Wheeler Army Air Field, Schofield Barracks and Wahiawa placed dedications on each grave. In less than an hour, colors of red, white and blue blanketed the gravesites at the post cemetery.
“I like doing stuff like this,” said Boy Scout Patrick Guinness, Troop 24, Schofield Barracks. “It’s nice to remember these people.”
The Scouts finalized the ceremony by raising the American flag, saluting and stating the Scout oath during morning colors.
“The tradition has been the same for the past 25 years,” said Les Stewart, chief, Casualty and Mortuary Affairs operations in the Pacific. “The Scouts gather for the memorial service and decorate each gravesite.”
“Each year we have more and more community involvement,” added Stewart, “and the Scouts volunteer and conduct the ceremony.”
Birds chirped in rhythmic song as Boy Scout Michael McCaffrey, Troop 24, Schofield Barracks, played taps on the ceremonial bugle. He was honoring his father who is currently serving in Iraq.
“This teaches the Scouts a bit about their civic duty,” said Scout Master Eric Beat, Troop 24, Schofield Barracks. “It gives them an opportunity to give back to the community and learn about individuals who gave all for their country.”
As the ceremony ended, the more than 100 in attendance walked around the historic cemetery paying respects to military ohana buried on post.
“We remember our fallen Soldiers as well as those currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Stewart. “We are all Family … and our Family is here.”