Troop 404 honors veterans with Memorial Day service

By NATHAN HOWELL | Special to the Reporter

PELHAM – Pelham Boy Scout Troop 404 held an intimate Memorial Day service at the Pelham Cemetery on Monday, May 25, to honor those who have died while serving the country.

According to Patrol Leader Jack Combs, the troop usually would go to the Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo to participate in a much larger ceremony, however, due to concerns about the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic they were unable to do so this year.

“We decided to go ahead and do this service here, because Troop 404 really places an emphasis on patriotism and honoring veterans,” Combs explained. “We really wanted to teach our younger scouts this message, and since we could not go to Montevallo we decided to do it here, because Memorial Day and honoring veterans is very important to the troop.”

The service was brief but consisted of a keynote speech by Combs’ grandfather, Steve Combs, a reading of the poem “In Flanders Field,” by John McCrae, a standard invocation, benediction and a color guards presentation.

“The speech my grandfather gave was a story about how one of his college roommates had died in a plane accident in a plane he was piloting in the 1960s during the Vietnam War,” Combs said. “He delivered the message of how important it is that we honor those veterans because he says, ‘I guarantee you that your grandparents or parents know someone that died at war.’”

Combs said that it is important to do events like these with the scouts because it teaches invaluable lessons to the younger scouts. While patriotism is the most obvious, it also encourages a sense of service to the community and helps show the importance of public speaking.

“I love doing these types of services, especially getting the rest of the troop involved in the participation,” he explained.  “Not only is it important to honor our veterans but it’s important to teach public speaking. I enjoy seeing our younger scouts participating and volunteering for these roles.”