FoldingMembers of Boy Scout Troop 400 in Richmond, VA carefully fold flags which were flown over the National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC on April 16, 2021, the official opening of the memorial to the public. The flags were folded to be placed in presentation cases like the one at right. 

Virginia Boy Scout Troop lends hands to help honor Americans who served in WWI 

A Boy Scout troop in Richmond, Virginia, over a century old itself, lent its hands recently to help acknowledge those whose help enabled the April 16, 2021 opening of the new National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC honoring the 4.7 million Americans who served their nation in uniform 100 years ago.

As part of the activities after the recent Father & Son Hike, Troop 400 folded flags that were flown over the Memorial so that they could be placed into presentation cases for the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission World War I Memorial Donor and Patron Recognition Program. The flags will be given to those individuals and organizations which played essential roles in the Commission's seven-year campaign to get the memorial approved, designed, funded, and constructed.

"On April 16, 2021, the World War I Centennial Commission celebrated the Inaugural Raising of the Flag of the United States of America over the newly constructed National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC," said Meredith Carr, Deputy Director of the World War I Centennial Commission. "Directly following the ceremony, the WWI Centennial Commission flew 100 flags over the Memorial on its opening day. These flags will be presented to our major donors, Special Advisors, and champions in the Pentagon and Capitol Hill."

But before the flags could be presented, they had to be folded neatly in a prescribed manner for placement in presentation cases. 100 flags take a lot of folding. That's where Troop 400 stepped in to help.

“Troop 400's origins go back to 1913, so we predate WWI", says Scoutmaster William "Billy" H. Parrish IV, who along with his three sons is an Eagle Scout in Troop 400. “To be chosen for folding the flags for the World War I Memorial Donor and Patron Recognition Program is a special and unique honor. The Scout Oath includes doing your duty to your Country and it is fitting that as a Scout Troop we honor those who served.”

The First Colors Ceremony after which the 100 flags were flown was designed to "bring our history home." It began with an American flag that first flew over the United States Capitol on April 6, 2017, commemorating the Centennial of the United States entry into World War I. This commemorative flag was then flown over the American World War I battlefield cemeteries of Europe and WWI Museum in Kansas City, to honor the 116,516 individuals who gave the last full measure of devotion. The flag finally returned home to its final destination in Washington, DC, where it now flies high above the National World War I Memorial. 

The many hands of Troop 400 made light work of the flag folding process, and the Scouts were soon back to skeet shooting, fishing, football, barbecue, and other more predictable activities of the annual Father and Son outing.  But all the Scouts returned home knowing that in the midst of their day of fun, they had done something important as part of the effort to honor America's World War I heroes.

"It was our great honor to entrust Troop 400 with the care, handling and folding of these special flags, said Carr. "Thank you for helping us honor the 4.7 million American men and women who served our great nation in the War that Changed the World."

scouts flagThe Scouts of Troop 100 hold one of the 100 flags that they folded for the World War I Centennial Commission. Troop 400 currently serves over 45 youth with an adult volunteer staff of 20. Most members and volunteers come from Richmond’s West End.