Tue, Apr

A New Generation of Scouts Honor Memorial Day in West LA.


THE DOCTOR IS IN - COVID-19 may linger as a threat, but America's best played a major role in bringing that threat to bear.

And, America's youth--particularly those trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent to adhere to the principles of Scouting--will help our nation and world conquer the pandemic and all other obstacles in our way. 

Another tradition has been brought from the ashes of the pandemic that did (and still does) burn our world in a biological, political, and economic conflagration.  

That tradition is of the West L.A. Cemetery Memorial Day Weekend flag planting to honor the memory of those who gave it their all, so that we may have the opportunity to reach for a better future for ourselves and our children, and for their children's children. 

For those who don't know, Scouts BSA (once called the Boy Scouts of America) accepts both boys and girls, straight and gay youths, and young men and women of all creeds, religions, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds. 

And last Saturday, May 28th, 2022, the Scouts BSA, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Sea Scouts, Campfire Girls, Brownies, Daisies, and all other youth groups were represented in full apparel and spirit to resume the honoring and cherishing of those from the past who died in blood and pain...so that we could all dream and fight for a better tomorrow. 

(And is it too difficult to extend these sympathies to those civilians, including our children, who've cruelly and unnecessarily died in our nation so that their memory will enable us to fight to protect others from future errors of public health, political and legal policies?) 

Those who attended last Saturday numbered approximately one-third to one-half of the larger crowds who attended prior to the pandemic, but the flags over each grave in the West L.A. Cemetery went up just as fast.  

Of no irony or surprise was that my own Scouts USA troop honored and inducted a new Scout into our troop before the opening ceremony, because the numbers ARE coming back. 

New hope, and new determination, will be and must be the working principles of our nation, its families, and especially its youth. 

My newly-inducted daughter, who intends to create our troop's first brother-sister Eagle Scout duo (or at least one of them, and I certainly believe her), was as enthusiastic and proud as was my son; and he returned from college to help lead and advise the young Scouts in our troop as they helped plant a small ocean of flags in the West Los Angeles Cemetery. 

90,000 fallen heroes rest in peace.in that cemetery, and each has their own story. So stated the 98-year-old keynote speaker Jimmy Weldon (for those of you who remember, he was the voice of the sweet and loved Yakky Doodle character of past years).  

Mr. Weldon doesn't like to talk about his experiences in World War II, which was both necessary and a nightmare for those who fought, killed, and died for liberty. Yet Mr. Weldon was both honored and remembered as an unswerving champion of our flag, what it stands for, and for both the principles of the United States of America as represented by our flag. 

In particular, his call for remembering those who died for what flag stood for, and still stands for, was the main take-home point...and I am forwarding that call to all who read this. 

The Buffalo Soldiers were represented and honored in a small ceremony as well, and their role in United States history as paving the road for future generations of Black American soldiers was also part of the opening ceremony. Black American soldiers, from the Buffalo Soldiers to the Tuskegee Airmen, represent some of our fiercest and most capable fighters in the United States military.  

As adults, we have much to fear for with respect to our children and our futures. It's been my experience that both sides of the political aisle are pointing to the other side as responsible for the miseducation, lost opportunities, and dangers our young and adult children have had to and still do endure. 

But both sides of the political aisle were certainly represented last Saturday, and yet no one knew or cared about politics and division. There was just one unified group of Americans that morning, and a century after Jimmy "Yakky Doodle" Weldon was born, it is good to know that there still burns a fierce and unswerving patriotism in the hearts of young Americans. 

And these young Americans can certainly be relied upon to confront and overcome the daunting challenges to our nation and world in this 21st Century.  

(Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D, is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties, and is a proud husband to a beautiful, brilliant, and wonderful wife, and also a father to two cherished, well-read, and capable children. He was termed out of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC) twice after two stints as a Board member for 9, years and is also a Board member of the Westside Village Homeowners Association. He previously co-chaired the MVCC Outreach, Planning, and Transportation/Infrastructure Committees for 10 years. He was previously co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee, the grassroots Friends of the Green Line (which focused on a Green Line/LAX connection), and the nonprofit Transit Coalition His latest project is his fictional online book entitled The Unforgotten Tales of Middle-Earth and can be reached at [email protected]. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)