Locally, members of several Boy Scout troops and Cub Scout packs attended the Scout Surge 9/11 observance Saturday at Portsmouth’s Tracy Park.
Beginning at 8:46 a.m., Kyle Louderback, a Life Scout from Troop 12, began the brief ceremony with the Pledge Of Allegiance. Flag bearer James Fletcher, also of Troop 12, held the colors high as the crowd saluted and recited the pledge in unison.
Before the ceremony, and afterward, the Scouts took the opportunity to pick up trash around the memorial wall area. Scout leaders were encouraged to make the memorial and the park a frequent service project destination, to help improve the community’s appearance.
The “Scout Surge 9/11” initiative was brought to the Simon Kenton Council by Scoutmasters attending the 2010 National Scout Jamboree. Local Scoutmaster Phil Malone was one of those, asked by the Central Region of the Boy Scouts, to try to begin this tradition of honoring heroes on or about Sept. 11 every year.
Most of the scouts at the commemoration Saturday had never been that close to the Wall at Tracy Park. Some knew “something” was there, but did not understand its meaning. Parents and leaders were heard explaining why the names were there, and how they got there.
One name the Scouts were reminded of was Russell D. Williams. His name is the last name on the World War I section of the wall. He was one of Ohio’s first three Eagle Scouts in 1914, all three of whom were from Portsmouth. He became Ohio’s first casualty in World War I.