Teaching respect and remembrance: Scouts honor fallen soldiers 

Tiger Scout, Alexis Carden, 7, places a flag on the grave of a veteran at Eternal Valley Memorial Park and Mortuary in preparation for Memorial Day in Newhall on Saturday, 052524. Dan Watson/The Signal
Tiger Scout, Alexis Carden, 7, places a flag on the grave of a veteran at Eternal Valley Memorial Park and Mortuary in preparation for Memorial Day in Newhall on Saturday, 052524. Dan Watson/The Signal
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Kim Carden, committee chair and leader for Cub Scout Pack No. 494, led her group of second-grade Cub Scouts as they carefully placed an American flag on numerous graves.  

“Salute,” she would say.  

The Scouts would then place their small hands up for a salute, hold a moment of silence, and moved on to the next. The group repeated the process for multiple graves at the Eternal Valley Memorial Park & Mortuary on Saturday morning, paying their respects to military veterans just days ahead of the annual Memorial Day Ceremony hosted by the Santa Clarita Valley Veterans Memorial Inc. in partnership with Eternal Valley Memorial Park & Mortuary. 

The kids in Cub Scout Pack No. 494 were among the 800 local Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts placing American flags on 7,000 tombstones of people at the memorial park.  

Cub Scouts from Troop 494 of Canyon Country salute a flag they placed on the grave of a veteran at Eternal Valley Memorial Park and Mortuary in preparation for Memorial Day in Newhall on Saturday, 052524. Dan Watson/The Signal
Cub Scouts from Troop 494 of Canyon Country salute a flag they placed on the grave of a veteran at Eternal Valley Memorial Park and Mortuary in preparation for Memorial Day in Newhall on Saturday, 052524. Dan Watson/The Signal

“We come every year to honor the veterans that have passed away fighting for our country,” said Jocelyn Eastman, wolf den leader of the pack. “They learn to respect people who fought for our freedom and learn about respecting people that have passed away.”  

The annual tradition is an integral part of the weekend-long programming, said Bob Kellar, president of the organization.  

The Memorial Day Ceremony is scheduled for Monday beginning at 10 a.m. at the Eternal Valley Memorial Park in Newhall. This year’s theme is “Women in the Military.” 

“It’s an opportunity for these young people to really get an appreciation for the veterans and what they have done for our country and at an early age,” he said.  

Robert Burns of Boy Scout Troop 2222, plays "To the Colors" on the trumpet to begin the event at Eternal Valley Memorial Park and Mortuary to place flags the graves of veterans in preparation for Memorial Day in Newhall on Saturday, 052524.  Dan Watson/The Signal
Robert Burns of Boy Scout Troop 2222, plays “To the Colors” on the trumpet to begin the event at Eternal Valley Memorial Park and Mortuary to place flags the graves of veterans in preparation for Memorial Day in Newhall on Saturday, 052524. Dan Watson/The Signal

Kellar, a veteran himself, served in the United States Army from 1965 to 1967, stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.  

He felt deep appreciation as he witnessed the hundreds of children placing flags and paying their respects to the thousands of fallen heroes.  

“I really applaud all their Scout leaders that come out here and work with us,” said Kellar.  

Dennis Young, assistant scout for Girl Scout Troop No. 2019 brings the collective of young girls to the annual occasion and shows the group his great uncle’s Purple Heart medal, a military decoration awarded in the name of the president to those wounded or killed while serving.  

Lion Scout, Luna Fuschillo, 5, places a flag on the grave of a veteran at Eternal Valley Memorial Park and Mortuary in preparation for Memorial Day in Newhall on Saturday, 052524.  Dan Watson/The Signal
Lion Scout, Luna Fuschillo, 5, places a flag on the grave of a veteran at Eternal Valley Memorial Park and Mortuary in preparation for Memorial Day in Newhall on Saturday, 052524. Dan Watson/The Signal

“He died during the second world war and he was a Boy Scout,” said Young. Young also reads the girls a Western Union Telegram that his great uncle’s mother received announcing that he was killed in battle by a Japanese sniper in Okinawa.  

Young’s goal every year is to teach the young girls how losing a loved one by paying the ultimate price can affect their families, and something that should be appreciated.  

“It ties with the whole scouting ethos. It is about more than just us. We can’t take our freedom for granted, many of these people pay the ultimate sacrifice and we need them to be appreciative that somebody did pay the price and take that into account,” Young said. “It provides a greater context in their lives.”  

“Gratitude is the secret to happiness and when you look at all these flags you can’t help but be grateful for somebody else making a sacrifice so that we can be free.”  

Scouts of Troop 2019 place a flag on the grave of U.S. Navy veteran Robert Schultz at Eternal Valley Memorial Park and Mortuary in preparation for Memorial Day in Newhall on Saturday, 052524. Dan Watson/The Signal
Scouts of Troop 2019 place a flag on the grave of U.S. Navy veteran Robert Schultz at Eternal Valley Memorial Park and Mortuary in preparation for Memorial Day in Newhall on Saturday, 052524. Dan Watson/The Signal

The collective made up of 10- to 18-year-olds have participated in the annual event in previous years.  

“It part of our duty as citizens to observe Memorial Day respectfully,” said Miranda Sotelo, eagle scout of the group. “Even though we have a specific holiday for observing, the sacrifice that veterans made is really to give you a day to remember something that you should be holding on to all year.”  

The girls all agreed in unison.  

“Some people may say it doesn’t matter because the [veterans] are not living to see it, but the families are who we’re doing it for as well,” said Maddy Young, 1st class girl scout. 

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