Boy Scout Troop 80, chartered by Watkinsville First United Methodist Church, recently presented a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.

Arlington National Cemetery is the final resting place for over 400,000 service members. 

Mike Compton, associate troop leader, acquired a wreath from the Bogart balloon and gift supplier burton+BURTON. 

The troop leaders chose four boys and young men who were in their best scout uniforms to present the wreath. One of the people chosen was the ex-leader of the troop, Charles Adams (Corey Dauster is the current leader). George Thompson, an Eagle Scout, was selected, along with a first-class scout and a second-year scout. 

When the wreath-laying ceremony started, one of the monument’s soldiers brought out the wreath and handed it to the group.  

“They’re also honored that we wanted to do it,” Thompson said, speaking of the military personnel. 

Then, a military bugler played “Taps.” The music, combined with the weight of being at the monument, really affected Thompson. 

“I’m not emotional, but I was almost crying,” he said. 

As well, Thompson was touched by seeing the rows and rows of white, marble gravestones on the cemetery grounds.

He explained that earlier, as most of their troop members gathered in a group behind them, he and a friend walked ahead while looking at the graves. 

“We’re just dead silent, because we’re looking around, thinking, ‘We have no right to take anything for granted. These men have sacrificed everything they had for us, for our country.’”

Thompson said that the experience was special to him because his grandfather was in the military. 

“If anybody who is young and questions, ‘Has America ever done good? Have we ever sacrificed anything?’ Go to Arlington National Cemetery,” Thompson said. “It is a powerful sight to see how much those men have sacrificed and what those families have sacrificed to keep us free.”

For more on this story, see the July 4 edition of The Oconee Enterprise, on sale now at convenience stores and grocery stores and newspaper boxes throughout Oconee County. To subscribe, call (706) 769-5175 or visit the tab on our website. 

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