On the Wednesday before Memorial Day, the kids and I joined other area scouts at our city's veterans' home to give thanks to those who have given their lives for our country and to plant flags on the graves at the veterans' cemetery nearby. All decked out in their scouting uniforms, we headed over to the veterans' home to help out. Never having participated in this event before, I unknowingly ended up parking about as far away from the event as possible, but that worked out at the beginning anyway because it meant we had no choice but to walk past the awesome Blackhawk helicopter parked on the front lawn!
It was a medic copter, so the kids were allowed to sit in it and explore a bit.
It was a really neat experience, and I am sure the kids would have loved to have check it out a bit more, but we soon headed on back to join in the festivities.
After a free hot dog dinner, complete with a bag of chips, a cookie, and a glass of lemonade, we chatted with some other scouts and listened to a live band. The scouting leaders and representatives from the veterans' facility gave a few speeches, highlighting the amazing sacrifices the veterans' and families of veterans have made over the years and how important it is to honor them, then we headed out to decorate the graves.
We grabbed a flag starting tool of sorts along the way, and I am very glad we did because a couple spots were difficult to even break through with the tool. I handled it most of the time because it was a rusty piece of metal and I didn't want my kids to stab their feet with it, but they each got to take a turn with it.
They were mostly in charge of planting the flags once the holes had been made, and they did a really great job.
Unfortunately, the veterans' home, the pavilion where we ate dinner, and the cemetery were all under a canopy of trees, and not long into the event Baylor started having an allergic reaction to the pollen they were letting go. After dinner started I had to get him some ice to stem the swelling of his left eye, but in the end it didn't do much good.
Yup, my poor boy got beat up by nature. The above picture is after several applications of ice; I have a feeling they were all that was between him and his eye swelling shut.
In spite of the allergies, we will probably be back to the event again next year. It was an important experience, and a great way to give thanks to those who have given so much to us.
We'll just make sure to bring eye drops and an ice pack next time.