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Veterans give Memorial Day flag duty to youth group

Young Marines.jpg
Posted at 9:30 PM, May 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-31 16:39:15-04

Disabled American Veterans has been placing flags at Mountview Cemetery for Memorial Day.

The Young Marines have been assisting, but now take on the full responsibility because of the decreasing membership of the veterans group.

It's a tradition important to both groups that kept going at the cemetery on Saturday.

The Young Marines salute each time they place a flag.

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KTVQ photo

"That's called an honor salute," said Patrick Weber, Young Marines commander. "It's a slow salute. They go up for three seconds, hold the salute for three seconds, and down for three seconds. They're saluting as respect to the flag, and to the tombstone of the fallen veteran. It's very emotional because we're remembering our brothers that we lost. The younger kids of course are learning it, the older kids that means a lot more to them."

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KTVQ photo

"It's awesome seeing all these Young Marines, these motivated young Marines out here, placing the flags on all the headstones of the veterans that gave for their country," said Colton Wierenga, Young Marines sergeant.

The young Marines have been placing flags in a part of the cemetery for about six years, and now it's their responsibility for the job given to them by the Disabled American Veterans (DAV).

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KTVQ photo

"We started looking for an organization that could take over our duties and do the same kind of a job that we've done over the past many years," said Bob Scott, DAV adjutant and treasurer. "And the Young Marines look like a good fit. Very enthusiastic. They're a lot younger, They appear like they can really do a good job."

"It's wonderful that they have the trust for us to be able to come out here for the foreseeable future, and get the flags placed out here," Wierenga said. "The Young Marines are truly honored."

"It teaches our kids responsibility, ethics, community service, veteran appreciation," Weber said.

For Scott, it's an emotional time to think about lost veterans.

"As you place a flag, and you look up a name," Scott said. "You look at his service. What he was in? Look at his age, and you start calculating in your mind, how long this guy lived. Did he die young? Old? And you kind of absorb a little bit of a history as you go through the different gravestones."

"We look forward to them taking over from us and handling the job as well as we did," Scott said. "Their age group means many, many, many years of service."

Weber said the Young Marines take care of about 1,100 flags.