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Girl Scouts, American Legion pay tribute to service members who have passed on

By Deborah Wilber - | May 30, 2022
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Trishia Van Orden, troop leader of Girl Scout Troop 235 of Layton, is pictured with her daughter Melody on Saturday, May 28, 2022, while trying to penetrate the ground to place a flag in honor of a veteran on Memorial Day.
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Volunteers fan out at the Ogden City Cemetery on Saturday, May 28, 2022, to place flags on veterans' headstones for Memorial Day.
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American Legion Post 9 Chaplain Barbara Beck, front center, leads a crowd of volunteers in prayer before placing flags at the headstones of veterans on Saturday, May 28, 2022, for Memorial Day.
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Skylee Ann "Chewy" Newman passes out flags to volunteers with her grandfather, A.C. Scheer on Saturday May 28, 2022.
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Volunteers are led in prayer by American Legion Post 9 Chaplin Barbara Beck on Saturday, May 28, 2022, during a flag-placing event to honor veterans for Memorial Day.

OGDEN — Amid cool temperatures and spotty rain showers Saturday morning, a few dozen Girl Scouts, troop leaders and members of the community came out to aid American Legion Post 9 in honoring veterans with flags for Memorial Day.

Every year for as long as U.S. Army veteran A.C. Scheer can remember, members of the American Legion have gathered at the cemetery to place flags on the graves of those who served their country.

“I want to say it’s our responsibility, but we take that responsibility willingly,” Scheer said.

As the American Legion post commander, Scheer navigates volunteers through some 54 acres to place over 1,000 flags on veterans’ headstones. Firm ground and nothing with which to penetrate it without breaking flags left volunteers searching their vehicles for screwdrivers and other sharp-pointed objects.

It used to take post members all day to finish, with some visitors asking why their loved ones did not have a flag. Enlisting help from the Girl Scouts of Utah and the community, Scheer said they are able to pay tribute to every veteran headstone in a couple of hours prior to the holiday.

Gloria Bircher, who serves Girl Scouts of Utah as the group’s membership support specialist of northern Utah, said It’s important for the girls to recognize what Memorial Day means.

“Remember the one who passed, who served,” said Girl Scout Addilyn Zwygart of Troop 741.

Addilyn and her mother, Stephanie, were picking up trash in addition to placing flags on Saturday, an event they have done for the last two years.

According to Scheer, without help, the American Legion would not be able to place a flag on every veteran headstone by Memorial Day when families come to visit, as they only have 23 members, eight of whom joined in the last two months.

Honoring veterans with flags at the Ogden City Cemetery is a family affair for Trishia Van Orden, troop leader for Girl Scout Troop 235 of Layton, who had all three of her children in tow.

While uncertain as to exactly how long the local veterans service organization has been placing flags on the headstones of veterans, Gayle Warren, president of American Legion Auxillary Unit 9, said her sister and brother-in-law, Judy and Byron Lewis, have been part of the tradition for over 40 years.


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