"This is a sacred space," said Scoutmaster Pat Klemens of Grayslake, as members of Boy Scout Troop 96 in Grayslake prepared to plant flags near the tombstones of veterans in the Avon Centre Cemetery on Shorewood Drive, near Grayslake North High School.
"The boys learn that Memorial Day should be about more than a picnic," Klemens said. "This day is really about remembering those who came before them."
The boys involved in the project were between the ages of 11 and 17 and seemed to grasp the importance of the event.
"It is really nice to do this because everyone who comes in to this cememtery can see all the flags for the veterans," said Spencer Boos, 12, of Grayslake, as he placed flags near certain headstones. "Otherwise, they might be forgotten. We can't do that. Remembering is what Memorial Day really is about."
Troop 96 held its 27th annual Memorial Day Weekend rememberance event on May 26 to honor those who have served the country and the community. The boys put US flags at the graves of all veterans, police officers and firefighters interred in Grayslake cemeteries. The troop maintains a list of all graves of service people starting with Civil War veterans and adds to the list every year.
"It is honorable to do this for the veterans," said William Bauman, 12, of Grayslake.
"It feels good to give back," said Nick Grzesik, 13, of Grayslake, as he searched for the proper headstones.
Grayslake Trustee Shaun Vogel has been a member of Troop 96 since he was a kid, and said he attends this event annually.
"The boys get a chance to see how many people in the community have sacrificed and served," Vogel said.
Jane Bryant was working alongside her teenage son David to find specific graves.
"It is a great way for the boys to pay tribute to the military members," she said. Her father was a WWII veteran.
The event concluded with a closing ceremony with flags, a poem and the national anthem. Grayslake Mayor Rhett Taylor delivered a short speech to the boys followed by Taps, lowering of the flag, and lunch, according to Troop 96 Committee Member John Boos.
"On Memorial Day, we do what the day calls for and we remember the sacrifices made," said Boos.