Local Scouts help remember our veterans

November 18, 2008

By Chantelle Lusebrink

Cub Scouts in Pack 639, sponsored by Issaquah VFW Post 3436, collect and return spent shells used in the Veterans Day 21-gun salute at City Hall to post commander David Waggoner. Photo by Greg Farrar.

Cub Scouts in Pack 639, sponsored by Issaquah VFW Post 3436, collect and return spent shells used in the Veterans Day 21-gun salute at City Hall to post commander David Waggoner. Photo by Greg Farrar.

For some students, Nov. 11 may have just been a day off from school. But for others, it was a time toremember sacrifices made by many men and women who have served in the country’s armed forces.

Cub Scout Pack 639, from Cougar Ridge Elementary School, spent its day off with members talking with servicemen and women about their experiences and observing the annual ceremony at City Hall.

“It’s about honoring our veterans and how they served our country,” said Colin Robitaille, a Webelos Scout.

“We get to celebrate the veterans and what they have done for us,” said Andrew Gersuk, another Webelos Scout. “They defend our country and let us have our freedoms.”The Cub Scouts watched as the active servicemen and women and retired veterans were introduced at City Hall by Dave Waggoner, a Vietnam veteran and president of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3436.

“This is the biggest turnout we’ve ever had,” he said, adding it was mostly Scouts. “We like having them, because then they know who we are. They see their veterans, they see the funny hats and they see us salute the flag.

“That’s important,” he said.

Issaquah’s VFW post is also a charter sponsor for the Cub Scout pack; the veterans meet with the Scouts several times a year for events.

One of the most important events is learning to properly dispose of a retired U.S. flag. The flags need to be folded and burned after their retirement, Waggoner explained. Veterans show Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts how to properly fold a flag and supervise the burning of them.

Last year, they retired nearly 700 flags, Waggoner said.

“Learning to fold flags was really cool,” Andrew said.

“We find out everything they do in war and they teach the Cub Scouts about it,” Colin added.

“They teach the boys, so that they understand that people fought for their country, and the freedoms they enjoy, and allow us to live in our country, and all that it has to offer, versus other regimes around the world where people aren’t free,” said Geoffrey Gersuk, a pack leader.

“We want them to be just as involved in the city as we are,” Waggoner said.

At the Veterans Day ceremony, Councilwoman Eileen Barber reminded those in attendance about the importance of remembering the nation’s veterans.

“Our country is forever in debt to our veterans for their courage, sacrifice and service they have displayed in protecting our nation, and ensuring our freedom and democracy,” she said.

“They risk their own lives to defend us,” Colin said, adding that remembering them was why he was there.

Cub Scout Pack 551 and Boy Scout Troop 701 and members of Issaquah High School’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps also observed Veterans Day at City Hall.

Members of the Junior ROTC presented the nation’s colors and performed a 21-gun salute in front of City Hall at the flagpole.

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