Ea­gle Scout project hon­ors fallen sol­diers

Record Observer - - Front Page - By DOUG BISHOP dbishop@kibay­times.com

GRASONVILLE — Veter­ans of For­eign Wars, Post 7464 hosted the un­veil­ing of an Ea­gle Scout Project de­signed and or­ches­trated by Troop 765 Life Scout Ja­cob McLaugh­lin, 17, of Queen­stown on Satur­day, Sept. 23.. Boy Scout Troop 765 is spon­sored by Safe Har­bor Pres­by­te­rian Church in Stevensville.

Ja­cob achieved his Life rank when he was 13 years old. A young man must or­ga­nize and lead what­ever project he chooses to do, as long as it is pre­vi­ously ap­proved by the lo­cal Boy Scout Coun­cil. The Scout must write the plan up and present it to the coun­cil. If it is ap­proved, he then can move for­ward in mak­ing it hap­pen.

It took Ja­cob nearly four years to do the main work of his pro­posed project — to find the names of all Queen Anne’s County res­i­dents who served in the armed forces and died in com­bat in all wars in Amer­i­can his­tory, start­ing with the Amer­i­can Revo­lu­tion­ary War and go­ing through ev­ery ma­jor war through to­day, in­clud­ing the war in Afghanistan.

His work pro­duced ex­actly 200 names. Af­ter con­firm­ing all 200, he went about ar­rang­ing to have the names listed on three large plaques to be mounted out­side the VFW in Grasonville. First, there is a plaque rep­re­sent­ing all the sol­diers who died in the Revo­lu­tion­ary War, 17 of those were African Amer­i­cans, des­ig­nated with an as­ter­isk next to their names. Ja­cob said, “The African Amer­i­can sol­diers were listed as be­ing mem­bers of the USCT (United States Col­ored Troops). That was also the des­ig­na­tion from the mil­i­tary records for all who served in the Civil War. There are 61 sol­diers from Queen Anne’s County who were African Amer­i­cans who died dur­ing the Civil War.”

That high num­ber of African Amer­i­can deaths can be at­trib­uted to former slave

own­ers of Queen Anne’s County be­ing re­im­bursed by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to have their former slaves en­list to join the Union army to help fight against the Con­fed­er­acy the last year of the war. Since Mary­land had been a slave state prior to the start of the war, ar­range­ments were made in Mary­land for former slave own­ers to di­rect their slaves to help out the Union, so the former slave own­ers did not take a to­tal loss of dol­lars from slave prop­erty. It was one of the few ar­eas Abra­ham Lin­coln’s Eman­ci­pa­tion Procla­ma­tion did not ap­ply in Mary­land. All slaves were not set free for noth­ing.

Adding the num­bers of African Amer­i­cans who died in com­bat in World War I, WWII, the Korean War, Viet­nam, Iraq and Afghanistan, an­other 35 African Amer­i­cans from Queen Anne’s County are ac­counted for. The to­tal num­ber of African Amer­i­cans out of the to­tal 200 is 113.

The ded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mony in­cluded the play­ing of “The Star Span­gled Ban­ner” and com­ments from Con­gress­man Andy Har­ris, who pre­sented Ja­cob with an Amer­i­can flag that had been flown over the U.S. Capi­tol build­ing in Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

Har­ris said, “Ea­gle projects are spe­cial to serve the com­mu­nity, how­ever, many Ea­gle projects don’t last long. This one will last for­ever.”

Then, led first by Ja­cob, all 200 names were solemly read aloud. Ten dif­fer­ent friends and fam­ily mem­bers par­tic­i­pated in the read­ing, each read­ing ap­prox­i­mately 20 names. At the con­clu­sion of the read­ing, “Taps” was played. There were tears in a num­ber of peo­ple’s eyes at the cer­e­mony re­mem­ber­ing those from Queen Anne’s County who gave their last full mea­sure of devotion to the na­tion.

County Com­mis­sioner Mark An­der­son said, “All of the names of those listed on th­ese plaques gave up their to­mor­rows for us to­day and for that Amer­i­can flag atop this flag pole. That we could all live in free­dom.”

Ja­cob spoke briefly to the au­di­ence about the hard­est part of the work, “go­ing to all the dif­fer­ent places to con­firm the deaths of the many sol­diers. I even went as far away as South Carolina!”

Though he has ac­com­plished his Ea­gle Ser­vice Project, Ja­cob has still not achieved his ul­ti­mate goal of be­com­ing an Ea­gle Scout. He has a few more re­quire­ments to fin­ish be­fore he turns 18, and must then com­plete an Ea­gle Board of Re­view (re­view of all re­quire­ments to achieve the rank of Ea­gle). Upon do­ing that, then he will be awarded Scout­ing’s high­est honor.

PHOTO BY DOUG BISHOP

From left, Com­mis­sioner Mark An­der­son, Sher­iff Gary Hof­mann, Troop 765 Life Scout Ja­cob McLaugh­lin and Scout­mas­ter Jim Wil­liams stand with one of three plaques with names of all mil­i­tary per­son­nel from Queen Anne’s County who have died in com­bat in ev­ery ma­jor war since the Revo­lu­tion­ary War. Some 200 names are listed.

PHO­TOS BY DOUG BISHOP

Con­gress­man Andy Har­ris, left, com­mends Troop 765 Life Scout Ja­cob McLaugh­lin, 17, of Queen­stown, for com­plet­ing his Ea­gle Scout Project out­side VFW Post 7464 in Grasonville, Satur­day, Septem­ber 23. The project was com­pling 200 names of mil­i­tary per­son­nel from Queen Anne’s County who have died in ev­ery ma­jor war in Amer­i­can his­tory, start­ing with the Revo­lu­tion­ary War through the most re­cent war in Afghanistan.

With VFW Post 7464 Vice Com­man­der Charles Ham­mond and Post Quar­ter­mas­ter James Clark stand­ing be­hind him, Troop 765 Life Scout Ja­cob McLaugh­lin, 17, of Queen­stown, spoke to the au­di­ence out­side the VFW on Satur­day, Sept. 23, dur­ing the cer­e­mony for his Ea­gle Scout Project com­pleted there.

Some of those who at­tended the Ea­gle Project cer­e­mony hon­or­ing the 200 Queen Anne’s County res­i­dents who died in ev­ery ma­jor war in Amer­i­can his­tory. The cer­e­mony and ded­i­ca­tion took place Satur­day, Sept. 23, out­side VFW Post 7464 in Grasonville, where the names of those honored are posted.

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