By Todd Starnes
In recent days we have seen shameful images of American young people burning the flag, disrespecting the National Anthem and desecrating the U.S. Constitution. We have seen them try and silence free speech and bully those who defend freedom.
And while the young people who spit on our traditions seem to get all of the media attention, there are many young Americans who cherish our freedoms and have a profound respect for the red, white and blue.
And I want to celebrate those young folks.
Trail Life USA and American Heritage Girls have taken up the mantle of defending our values and our traditions. And my email has been inundated with stories and photographs of Trail Men and American Heritage Girls honoring the fallen on this Memorial Day.
I was especially moved by the Trail Men of Troop VA-0412. They partnered with American Heritage Girls and placed more than 4,000 American flags on the graves of heroes resting in the Culpeper National Cemetery in Virginia.
The cemetery staff took time to share stories about some of the men who gave their lives for our freedom – including Sgt. Cameron Thomas, killed in action in Afghanistan.
“Our troops placed a flag on his grave in his honor,” Sharon Croushorn told me. “We are so thankful for the opportunity to serve our fallen heroes in honor of Memorial Day.”
Trial Life Troop KS-0007 and American Heritage Girls decorated St. Gregory’s Catholic Cemetery and City Cemetery in Marysville, Kansas. The young people installed nearly 1,900 American flags.
Trail Life Troop CA-611 decorated hundreds of graves at the Riverside National Cemetery in California.
“As a father and American it was a solemn and welcome experience watching our children learn,” Trailmaster Aaron Wyant told me. “One of my sons took his time reading the names on the headstones of the soldiers and he told me how sad he was at so many losses – but how glad he is for his freedom.”
It’s nice to know there are some young people in America who still stand for the National Anthem and pledge allegiance to the flag, young people who understand that our freedom is bought with a price. It’s nice to know that Trail Life USA and American Heritage Girls are raising up a new generation of patriots.
And when they come of age, some of those very young people will answer the call and take their place among those who tend freedom’s flame – those who ensure that our nation will always be the land of the free, the home of the brave.