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Scouts in St. Louis area resume Memorial Day tradition of honoring veterans

As has been done for more than six decades, they will adorn each of the 150,000 graves in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery with an American flag
Credit: KSDK

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — This Memorial Day weekend, scouts from the St. Louis region will return to Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery to mark each of the 150,000 graves with American flags.

The Memorial Day Good Turn tradition, in its 70th year in 2019, is one of the most enduring activities Boy Scouts of America participates in. It has gone on for more than six decades, pausing only in times of extreme caution, such as last year's COVID-19 cancellation.

“We are thrilled that we may take part in this time-honored tradition this year,” said Joe Sadewasser, CEO and Scout executive of the Greater St. Louis Area Council. “Last year we had to cancel for safety and precaution toward the pandemic, but with recent vaccination, CDC guidelines and safety protocols ... this year [is] even more valuable to our Scouts, our Council and our community.”

The National Jewish Committee on Scouting local council has scheduled its Scout’s annual Good Turn for Sunday to assist the Jewish War Veteran’s Post 644 in placing 8,000 flags on graves of Jewish War Veterans at eight Jewish cemeteries.

The event is sponsored by the Jewish War Veterans and the Jewish Relations Committee of the Greater St. Louis Area Council.  

The Boy Scouts of America flag placement activities began Wednesday and continue through Saturday. Times are Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

COVID-19 safety measures:

  • Participants must sign in and complete the pre-event medical screening prior to the day
  • Limit 30 participants per section
  • Section occupancy and placement time will be staggered
  • Hand-sanitizing stations
  • All participants must wear a dual-layer paper or cloth mask – no buffers, neck gaiters, bandana or other type of mask is permitted; mask must completely cover the nose and mouth and fit snugly without gaps
  • Physical distancing and crowd avoidance during all announcements and instructions

Additionally, demonstrations will be held to educate attendees on proper flag etiquette and care. Presentations of flag raising, veneration and decommissioning will be recorded for online resources. To learn more about the flag code and care, please visit this website.