The Boy Scouts of America Troop 22 in Muncie walked the grounds of the Beech Grove Cemetery Thursday to plant flags in honor of fallen veterans — a tradition started about six years ago to celebrate Memorial Day.

Scoutmaster Josh Sprague said the cemetery staff reached out to a few troops in the area for help with placing flags near the fallen veterans’ headstones. 

The Scouts gathered flags and dispersed to place the flags on the right side of the headstones. They had family and friends with them who also participated in placing flags. 

“There is a lot of correlation between a Boy Scout troop and a military organization,”  Sprague said. “We are really service oriented, so we try to give back to our community. Service helps these boys build their confidence and still be involved in their community.” 

Scoutmaster Josh Sprague, right, stands next to his long-time friend, Matt Gossage. Both helped direct Boy Scouts to place flags at different headstones May 21, 2020. Jenna Gorsage, DN

The Boy Scouts want to show their respect to the families and relatives who have lost a loved one while serving our country.

“Every once and awhile when we are putting the flags out someone will stop and show their appreciation for remembering and honoring their family member,” Sprague said. “It really gives us a good feeling to know that it is appreciated.”

The Scouts practiced social distancing and wore face masks to follow the rules in place of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It’s no different than last year,” said Brenden Jones, one of the participating Boy Scouts. 

Jones has been a Scout for four years, and this is his second year planting the flags. 

Brenden said even though it may seem different with the social distancing guidelines, the meaning behind why the troop was there was still the same — to honor fallen veterans. Another scout, Braxton Stein, said his great grandfather was a veteran.

Flags placed by Boy Scouts wave beside headstones for fallen veterans May 21, 2020. Some of the headstones had flowers previously left by other friends and family. Jenna Gorsage, DN

“It really makes a lasting impact on the boys,” Sprague said.  “They can really see that these men and women died protecting our freedom.”

As they planted the last few flags, Sprague and the Boy Scouts gathered for a group photo near an old war cannon.

“Boy Scouts are still a valuable part of our community — they still exist,” Sprague said. “We try to do good character building for the boys and girls. Giving back to our community like we do here at the cemetery is really good for them." 

Contact Jenna Gorsage with comments at or on Twitter at @jmgorsage.