Flags of the fallen: scouts plant flags for veterans on Memorial Day weekend

Published 12:10 am Tuesday, May 28, 2024

SALISBURY — Memorial Day is time for reflection and holding on to those who have given their lives while serving in the United States Armed Forces. 

On Saturday morning, the Rowan County Veterans Council hosted its annual Memorial Day ceremony where 2,000 scouts planted more than 19,000 flags on the graves of veterans at the Salisbury National Cemetery and the Salisbury National Cemetery Annex. For many, it was an emotional and powerful day.

“By us putting the flags out, that’s part of us sponsoring the youth and their families to go out and honor our fallen veterans,” Ann Barber, the adult leader with the Gold Rush District, said. 

Queen Williams was the Memorial Day ceremony chair person who helped organize the event. For her, seeing the thousands of scouts take time out of their Saturday to commemorate veterans made her feel proud of all the work she did. 

“The thing that stands out to me the most are the children that showed up and how the scouts keep on coming out,” Williams said. 

After the flags were finished being planted, the Harold B. Jarrett American Legion Post 342 in Salisbury invited every scout to a pancake breakfast. 

Barber said the American Legion’s four pillars are veterans affairs and rehabilitation, national security, Americanism, and children and youth and this weekend plays right into that for them. 

“We teach scouts to do service and this is part of the service that they do. It’s a lot of leadership out there…It teaches the youth about Americanism. It’s about honoring our heroes, this is what Memorial Day is all about,” Barber said.

Barber described the atmosphere at the cemetery as “respectful” as Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Girl Scouts each contributed to this touching tribute. After being slowed by COVID in recent years, Barber is relieved to be back at full strength again. 

“It feels good. It feels like you got your support back. It feels like you’re honoring the ones who went before you,” Barber said.

Christian Stebe is a member of the Boy Scouts whose father gave his life while serving in the military. Saturday was very personal to him, but that is why he does his best to focus on  the veterans themselves in order to give them the admiration they deserve. 

“My favorite part is you get learn about the veterans because what I usually do is pick out two or three of the tombstones, I’ll write down their names and try to look up their history of what they did within the service, try to see what they did, try to remember their names because you’re not really forgotten until somebody forgets your memory,” Stebe said.