Troops in Iraq and at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda will get a big "thank you" from local Cub Scouts this holiday season.
The project started because Cub Scout Pack 1682 in Chantilly/Centreville, consisting of about 50 boys in first- through fifth-grades at Virginia Run Elementary, wanted to do something special for soldiers far from home over the holidays. They decided to have some big banners made, sign them with personalized holiday greetings, and send them to soldiers in Iraq.
"The boys were very excited, very supportive of the ideas, very eager to write their message of holiday greetings. Since I'm a military reservist myself, it was very heartwarming to see the kids want to show their support for the troops," said Cubmaster Bob Duncan.
M&M Signs and Graphics in Chantilly and Sign-a-Rama in Centreville donated two large banners, which Scouts and their families signed at a pack meeting on Friday, Dec. 10.
One banner, which has a flag motif, is destined for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. The State Department gave mailing instructions to ensure the banner will arrive by Christmas.
The second, white, banner will stay closer to home. On Christmas Day, Scouts and their families plan to travel to Bethesda to present it to recovering soldiers.
Scouts also donated several pre-paid long-distance phone cards to allow soldiers to call home over the holidays. "We believe that recognizing the sacrifices of those protecting our freedoms is not only in the holiday spirit, but is also very much in the spirit of Cub Scouting," said Duncan.