Benjamin Mouritsen, 11, from Heidelberg's Boy Scout Troop 59, scrubs the headstone of an American who lost his life near Flanders Field, Belgium, during World War I. Thirteen Scouts and two leaders sc

HEIDELBERG, Germany -- Armed with brushes, sponges and water buckets, Heidelberg's Boy Scout Troop 59 traveled 325 miles to Flanders Field American Cemetery and Memorial in Waregem, Belgium, Nov. 4-5.

As part of a service project and to commemorate Veterans Day, 13 Scouts and two leaders scrubbed 368 headstones of Americans who gave their lives liberating Belgium during World War I.

"The Scouts were able to gain abetter appreciation for the vast amount of lives lost near Flanders Field during World War I," said Maj. Michael Mouritsen, assistant scoutmaster and Headquarters Execution Branch, U.S. Army Europe G8.

Service projects are opportunities for Scouts to plan and organize events that render service to a significant historical site, Mouritsen said.

The Scouts also visited the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing in Ypres, which bears the names of more than 54,389 British Soldiers who died in the area but have no known graves. Every day since 1928 (except during the German occupation of Ypres during World War II), the Last Post, a bugle call honoring those who died, has been sounded.

"We were very grateful that the director of the Flanders Field Memorial, Chris Sims, allowed us an opportunity to provide service at the American Cemetery. The boys gained a greater appreciation for the sacrifices that many young men made during World War I, [and they] did a great job cleaning each and every head stone at the cemetery," said Scoutmaster Jacob Gadd.

Page last updated Fri November 18th, 2011 at 05:29