Springdale Cub Scouts replace more than 1,000 American flags ahead of Memorial Day
Dozens of scouts from Springdale Cub Scout Pack 554 spent Saturday morning crisscrossing local cemeteries to make sure veterans’ graves each had an American flag for the upcoming Memorial Day holiday.
“Part of scouting is embracing traditional American values and morals and paying respect to those who have gone before us,” said Jim Anderson, pack committee chairman.
The Cub Scout pack has been replacing the flags at Deer Creek Cemetery in Harmar for the past several years. And after taking care of the nearly 1,300 veterans’ graves there, they moved a few miles away to Henderson Cemetery along Gulf Lab Road.
Later this month, they’ll replace the flats at the School Street Cemetery, in Springdale, too.
Old flags taken from the cemeteries will be retired – burned – at a ceremony next month.
Tommy Fink, the Deer Creek supervisor, said it would take his crew three days to finish what the pack accomplishes in a few hours.
“These kids are great,” he said.
The Russellton Disabled American Veterans group used to replace the flags each year, but their aging combined with the rolling hills and large area of the cemetery meant the group could no longer help.
Fink said he reached out to the pack and they were happy to help.
“Having a large number of scouts, siblings and parents, we accepted that challenge,” said Anderson, a Navy veteran.
There are 46 boys in the pack, and they range in age from kindergarten to fifth grade.
“It’s a good thing for the boys to do,” he said. “It’s not a tough task, but it does require numbers.
”It’s important for them to understand why we do this.”
Even if the children don’t quite grasp the gravity or somberness of the task, it is still meaningful, said Brooke Harpine, of Springdale, who has a son in the pack.
“We have a lot of military in our own troop,” she said. “We all have family members or friends (in the military), so it’s important to us.”
Many of the children have grandparents or great-grandparents buried in the cemeteries where they plant flags. Cubmaster Stephen Hudson has four boys in the pack, and their grandparents are buried in Deer Creek Cemetery.
He said his family’s military history stretches back to the Revolutionary War.
“I know that there’s scouts doing this to my grandfather’s grave,” Hudson said. “I know that one day kids will be doing this for my grave and my father’s, and that’s really important to me.”
Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, [email protected] or via Twitter .