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NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. — Remembering the men and women who have served our country is what Memorial Day is all about. While many know of their sacrifices, some are just discovering them.

What do you want to know

  • Camp Nelson National Monument and Cemetery is in Nicholasville, Kentucky
  • Each year, Camp Nelson calls on the community to help them place nearly 17,000 flags at the graves of American servicemen
  • This year, Boy Scouts of America, several other community members helped place American flags
  • Paul Proffitt, chairman of the Central Kentucky Veterans Committee, helped organize the effort

The solemn holiday brings many families and communities to Camp Nelson National Cemetery for the annual placing of the flag at the graves of American servicemen.

Camp Nelson National Cemetery before volunteers began placing 17,220 American flags on the graves. (Spectrum News 1/Diamond Palmer)

Nearly 17,000 American flags will be placed on the graves of those who have served our country. This is something Camp Nelson National Cemetery has done for many years to commemorate the servicemen of Kentucky. Camp Nelson only has a staff of seven, so they rely heavily on community efforts for Memorial Day and Veterans Day to place flags at military graves.

Dozens of community members and organizations joined in the volunteer effort, but one group stood out the most. Simply because of their youth. The Boy Scouts of Lexington organization was one of many organizations to place the flags at the graves. Preston Taylor, a 10-year-old Boy Scout, volunteered to help.

“That hole right there doesn’t work at all [not deep enough]“, said Taylor

It takes serious skill and muscle to drive American flags 12 inches deep into the dirt. When Taylor succeeds in putting the American flag in place on the graves of servicemen, a smile lights up on her face.

“Yeah, I got it!” Taylor said.

Preston Taylor places an American flag at the grave of an American serviceman at Camp Nelson National Cemetery. (Spectrum News 1/Diamond Palmer)

Taylor uses her strength, determination and a screwdriver to carefully dig a hole in which to place the American flag before saluting the fallen serviceman. All thanks to the help of various community members and organizations in Central Kentucky. Taylor says the honor is more than he could have imagined, as this is his first time at the event.

“It’s a very, very big honour. It means a lot,” Taylor said.

Paul Proffitt, chairman of the Central Kentucky Veterans’ Committee, oversees Camp Nelson’s Memorial Day and Veterans Day events.

“It warms my heart to have parents bring young children here to teach them about sacrifice and the history of our country. These more than 17,000 veterans served and many of them gave their lives in combat,” Proffitt said.

Servicemen interred at Camp Nelson National Cemetery cover nearly every war that involved an American presence. The cemetery even includes a service member named William M. Harris who received the Medal of Honor. In the United States, it is the highest and most prestigious military decoration awarded by the government to United States Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, Guardsmen, and Coast Guardsmen who have distinguished themselves through acts of gallantry.

Taylor was helped by his fellow scouts who are also 10 years old. The scouts are Webelos, which is affiliated with the Boy Scouts, but that means they are one year away from being Boy Scouts. The boys’ club master, Walter Meade, knows that their willingness to learn history shows that they are ready to take on more tasks for the organization.

Camp Nelson Nation

al Monument and Cemetery will continue to remember those who served on Monday with a ceremony beginning at 11 a.m.