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Scouts to decorate 190,000 graves before Memorial Day

ST. LOUIS – For more than five decades, approximately 4,000 Scouts have gathered at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery prior to Memorial Day to decorate each of the 190,000 graves with an American Flag.

The tradition, entering its 65th year, is one of the longest running Memorial Day events within the Boy Scouts of America. The 2014 Memorial Day “Good Turn” will take place on May 25 beginning at 12:30 p.m.

The public is welcome to attend the event, held by the Greater St. Louis Area Council, Boy Scouts of America. Scouts from across the council will assemble at the National Guard base and march into the cemetery at 12:30 p.m. They will proceed to the main flagpole near the center of the cemetery for an assembly and ceremony. A surprise guest speaker, a service member of the Missouri National Guard and Eagle Scout, will address the crowd.

Scouts will honor those who served our country by raising the American Flag and then lowering it to half-mast as Scout buglers play “Taps.” Scouts who earned the rank of Eagle Scout — the highest rank in Scouting- during the past year will serve as the color guard. Scouts and leaders will then decorate each grave in the cemetery with a small American Flag.

It takes just two hours for Scouts to place more than 190,000 flags, which are provided by the cemetery.

In 1866, Jefferson Barracks was established as a national cemetery and today is one of the oldest interment sites of the National Cemetery Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs.

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