About 30 scout members were working hard on their hands and knees Saturday morning, volunteering their time to scrub and clean the graves of fallen soldiers at the Fort Langley cemetery.
Members of 1st Fort Langley, 1st Willoughby, and the Girl Guides used scrub brushes, toothbrushes, and good old-fashioned elbow grease to get the headstones as clean as possible for the upcoming Remembrance Day ceremony.
Nolan Facer, an 11-year-old member, was one of may who focused hard on the task at hand on the sunny morning.
“Were cleaning the graves of servicemen and honouring the people that fought for our freedom,”Facer explained, taking little time to take a break from his duties to answer.
Fort Langley troop leader Mary-Anne Lambert said the tradition started three years ago with nothing more than a desire to volunteer.
‘These kids are jumping at the opportunity to help out in their community,” Lambert said. “They know many people are coming to see this and it’s just such a great way to give back.”
Lambert said the duties have changed over the past three years, with the first being quite the undertaking.
“You should have the seen the first year we did it – the graves were very dirty,” Lambert added.
But beyond the hard work, Lambert also recognized that the opportunity also acts as a history lesson.
“The kids have lots of questions – they see dates on the headstones and say ‘wow, I can’t believe that’s over 100 years old,” she explained. “They know without sacrifice, they wouldn’t be here.”
Patrick Burgess, leader of the 1st Willoughby Troop, was personally moved by one the headstones he was cleaning that morning.
“I saw one of the soldiers was 19 when they died and I though ‘wow, I wasn’t thinking about that when I was that age.”
Beyond scrubbing the veteran section, the scouts also raked up leaves to get the entire area as prepped and presentable as possible for Nov. 11.
They will finish by putting Canadian flags next to each of the veteran’s graves and will then be part of the procession service themselves at the cenotaph ceremony.
“It’s so great to see that they are already wanting to volunteer and feeling this way about the community while their young,” Lambert said proudly as they scrubbed away. “These kids are the future.”
The Fort Langley Remembrance Day ceremony will take place from 10:15 to 11:30 a.m. on Monday, Nov, 11, at 23105 Glover Rd.
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