Honoring veterans through volunteering at a local cemetery

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A few days before Memorial Day, members of the Esko Boys Scouts, were out early, cleaning the headstones and markers of our veterans at Oneonta cemetery. Ben Schramm, Braedyn Male, other boy scouts, and parents were digging, scraping, and scrubbing together; with a veteran and Oneonta cemetery superintendent, they all put flags on the graves.

The idea for the project came to Ben when noticing someone cleaning at a cemetery. “I saw one lady coming over to clean a relative’s headstone, and I kind of came up in my head; that this could be a really good idea to do a project. Like this especially, because it not originally and it is a good idea to do something new, and for our country and community," says Schramm.

Powerful and thoughtful words can come to mind when talking about the honor and sacrifices that were made by veterans. "The people who have died and fought for our county; it just means to honor them and serve them with respect, Schramm explained.

As time moves forward and people get older, there can come a deeper meaning people find when thinking about what Memorial Day means to them. “The older I get, the more appreciation for life and how people gave their lives. I think that is an amazing thing," says Male. "I would understand more as the years go on that, wow, they are going to different countries serving for us and doing what no one would do daily,” Schramm shared. Going out there and fighting for our county." That is why I am so thankful for these veterans now, and I probably will be more as the years go on."

This project became extra special when Braedyn found his grandfather’s marker. "I knew he was in this area, especially since this is where most of the graves of the soldiers are. So, I just kept looking, and I found the last name and went from there and cleaned that one."

The Oneonta Cemetery will be a Memorial Day service before the West Duluth parade Monday. Visit Oneonta Cemetery or call (218) 624-1732 to find out more information about the parade.