Special to the Atlantic News
Atlantic News, Friday, June 2, 2006
[The following article is courtesy of the Atlantic News]
[Atlantic News Courtesy Photo]
HAMPTON -- Ever wonder how new American flags pop up every year at the High Street Cemetery just before Memorial Day? For years now, Hamptons American Legion Post #35 has been the driving force behind this important effort. This year was no exception. What was different this year is how the Post got the job done.
In years past Post #35 had to supervise the whole operation using Post members and some other volunteers, including Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts. This year, however, the Post asked Boy Scout Troop 177, which it sponsors, to handle the complete operation in Hampton.
The Post provided a list of flag sites and more than 800 flags, but the troop provided the organization and manpower. There were ten sites identified by the American Legion, of which some required fewer than 10 flags while one, the High Street Cemetery, needed more than half of the flags provided.
Troop Committee Chairman Larry Marsolais developed a plan which gave the smaller sites to adults while the youth were responsible for the High Street Cemetery.
The Scouts originally planned to start the effort during a lull in the Troop's yard sale on May 13. There was no lull in the weather, however, as Hampton scored its best in the state rainfall level of 14+ inches, so the Scouts began the task the following Wednesday.
In a few hours a group of 12 Scouts covered the High Street Cemetery, replacing the old flags with new ones and placing flags on many Veterans' graves where no flags were found. Three days later a second, smaller group came through to double check and complete the job. With the adults having completed the other sites, the mission was now accomplished, and Hampton was ready for Memorial Day.
Replacing the old flags was not the every day good deed; it was much more interesting. Scouts took note of the names of the Veterans and commented on how many there were and how many of them were from their own or friends' families. Assistant Scoutmaster Carolyn Hurley noted she felt honored to be involved in this display of respect for local Veterans. As the Scouts marched into the High Street Cemetery on Memorial Day, the crisp flags fluttering in the spring breeze were visible reminders that they had done an important job well.