DALLAS — A group of young men completed their own tour of duty to honor fallen American veterans in advance of Memorial Day.
Members of Boy Scout Troop 281 and Cub Scout Pack 281 visited Dallas’ Chapel Lawn Cemetery Wednesday to place 1,500 American flags near the graves of veterans. Troop 281, Dallas’ Boy Scout troop, began the tradition in 2000 when former member Michael Miller placed flags on graves for his Eagle Scout project, a service-centric project required to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.
Since then, Paula Glicini, of Dallas, has helped organize the event.
“It’s my way of giving back because these men and women sacrificed a lot for the freedoms that we have and this is my way of honoring them,” said Glicini, whose three sons are former members of Troop 281.
Glicini and Troop 281’s Scoutmaster Pete Calkins handed out flags to troop members as they arrived at the cemetery. Calkins has served as Scoutmaster for the last three years and continues the flag-planting tradition because he thinks it’s important for the young men to remember and honor veterans.
“All the benefits we have in this country aren’t free,” Calkins said. “People paid a price to have them, so it’s a time of remembrance and a time for them to, hopefully, have a sense for the sacrifice these people made.”
Approximately 40 Scouts attended the event.
Troop member Zachary Coy, 12, took his Scoutmaster’s sentiment to heart.
“Our freedom, that’s why we do this,” Zachary said. “It’s a great honor to do this.”
Zachary’s personal definition of freedom touched on an individual’s right to express themself while still abiding by some guidelines.
“It means being able to do what we want but yet not,” Zachary said. “For a woman, not have to have a strict dress code like some other countries would have. But we still have some rules.”
Kyle Zern, 17, said he has participated in every flag-planting event since joining the troop seven years ago.
“These people gave so much to this country,” Zern said. “I can spend a few hours on a Wednesday giving them flags just to represent what they were in their past life.”
After planting flags at Chapel Lawn Cemetery’s 4115 Memorial Highway location, the troop traveled to Fern Knoll Burial Park on Midland Drive where the flag planting continued. Calkins said the troop goes where Dallas American Legion requests they plant flags.
Boy Scout Troop 281 will participate in a Memorial Day service at Chapel Lawn Cemetery May 28.
The troop will take damaged American flags collected during their flag-planting event to the Dallas American Legion, 730 Memorial Highway, on June 14. The legion accepts damaged flags every Flag Day, then properly disposes of them.
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