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Honoring the day

Cub Scouts and Memorial Park work together

DuPont Cub Scout Pack 472 will partner with Mountain View Funeral Home, Memorial Park and Crematory to place American flags on the graves of veterans. Photo courtesy John Appelt

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The honoring of passed veterans on Memorial Day is a responsibility that Mountain View Funeral Home, Memorial Park and Crematory and DuPont Cub Scout Pack 472 take seriously.

"I've always been a big believer in American patriotism, and I think it is very important to not forget all of the heroes, who in many cases, sacrificed their lives to keep America free," said John Appelt, the pack's Cub master and a veteran of the Marine Corps and Coast Guard.

Appelt served for four years in the Marines and six years in the Coast Guard. He now works at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in the Public Works department.

"If we lose touch with our history, we lose touch with our freedoms," he said.

Appelt adds that the freedoms Americans enjoy are why DuPont Cub Scout Pack 472 volunteers to work with Mountain View to observe the day.

In remembering and honoring America's history and freedoms, Pack 472 partners with Mountain View employees to maintain and extend this bond. On the Thursday before Memorial Day, cub scouts and Mountain View employees place small American flags at the headstone of every veteran buried in one of the designated veterans gardens.

"An employee gathers us up and takes us to the veterans' section of the cemetery and hands us boxes of American flags," explained Appelt. "The two sections we do usually take a total of two hours to complete, and it's estimated that we place flags on 4,000-5,000 gravesites. It is humbling to do this; it is an expression of thanks for our freedoms."

The Cub Scouts is closely connected to England's Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell's creation of the Boy Scouts at the turn of the 20th century.

In 1910, William Boyce, an American publisher and businessman, brought Baden-Powell's idea of a "Boy Scouts" to America.

While in London on business, Boyce had become lost in the fog. Much to his relief, a boy appeared and offered to take him to his destination. When Boyce tried to give the boy some money for his help, the boy refused and explained that he could not accept payment for a good turn. Boyce was impressed, and he returned to the United States with the intention of beginning the Boy Scouts of America.

His efforts were successful, and by 1930, Cub Scouting -- which stressed many of the Boy Scouts' principles of patriotism, honesty and preparedness -- was extended to younger boys. By 1933, the Cub Scouts had achieved formal standing with the Boy Scouts. Throughout the rest of the 1930s, the organization grew quickly across the nation.

After his death in 1941, a letter was found in Baden-Powell's desk that he had written to all scouts -- present and future. It included this passage: "Try and leave this world a little better than you found it."

The partnership between Cub Scout Pack 472 and Mountain View to observe and honor Memorial Day does just that.

For more information about Memorial Day services at Mountain View Funeral Home, Memorial Park and Crematory, please contact Clarke Thomson at 253.330.5449.

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