Scouts, youth groups join to honor veterans at Eternal Valley

Girl Scouts Riley Holcomb, Kennedy Watson, Chloe Halili, Madison Ruhland, and Olivia Junas salute at the grave of a veteran/ Ryan Mancini The Signal
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With Memorial Day around the corner, numerous youth groups came to Eternal Valley Memorial Park to show their respects to veterans and place flags on Saturday.

Traditionally, the local troops from the Boy Scouts of America participate in splitting boys into groups and placing flags beside the graves of veterans interred across the site.

“Our troop’s been doing this for probably 10 years or more,” said Jeff Morreale, Assistant Scoutmaster of Troop 583. “We get about 40 boys every year, so we get a big section of Eternal Valley each year we’re out here. But the boys have a good time… the younger (scouts) really get involved, the older scouts kind of guide them along, showing them what to do.”

While the boys transition year to year, moving up by rank and aging out of the scouting program, some of the parents stay longer due to participation or other children they may have who are still members.

Troop 499 parent Ben Hope said this was his 13th year placing flags at Eternal Valley. Both of his sons are Eagle Scouts, the highest rank in the scouting program.

In participating, scouts are to be respectful on the cemetery grounds, while also being respectful carrying American flags, said Joaquin Hemstreet of Troop 499.

“Generally, no horseplay here,” he added.

Other groups participating included Trail Life USA, the California Rangers, and Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles 2562.

“I would rather be here than anywhere else,” said Girl Scout Olivia Junas.

For the parents, attendance is crucial for their boys and girls to better understand the significance of these types of events and their relation to the nation’s history.

“For the younger scouts, it’s great to show them, for Memorial Day, what it all means,” Morreale said. “A lot of them really don’t understand or know fully when they come here and see this. “It’s really cool to see when you look out and see all the flags everywhere…to be able to say, ‘I helped out, I did that.’”

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