UPPER SADDLE RIVER, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — For small communities across the Tri-State Area, annual Memorial Day parades are when our children get to march to represent their club or team sport.
This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, Scouting groups in Upper Saddle River will miss out on that opportunity, but they still found a way to remind neighbors the meaning of the holiday, CBS2’s Kristine Johnson reported Friday.
All about town, tiny flags are popping up next to mailboxes. Over 2,500 houses in fact. For residents, how the flags got there may be a mystery.
“Some people see us, some people wave. A lot of people are very appreciative,” said Greg Hermo, senior patrol leader of Troop 133. “When we do this, we are really doing it to honor Memorial Day. So, we really want people to remember our fallen veterans.”
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This time of year, Hermo and Sarah Renee Bakal, the senior patrol leader of Troop 933, would normally be prepping to march in the annual parade. The route, roughly a mile
long, passes the elementary and middle schools, and culminates in front of Borough Hall.
“We like to march and we give out candy to the kids as we pass by. We throw candy to them. It’s real fun,” Bakal said.
Instead of candy this year, it’s flags. Organizing the effort was no small task.
“Planning it, we had to look at Google Maps and we had to estimate the amount of homes that are in Upper Saddle River, so that we knew how many flags we had to get,” Hermo said.
“Once you explained it step by step it’s not that bad. You gotta get teamwork, and you gotta get people in on it,” Bakal said.
With 70 routes assigned, Troops 133 and 933 are expected to have everything in place by Sunday.
“It’s heartwarming to me. To be able to see everyone do their part, honor the fallen veterans is very important,” Bakal said.
It’s all a reminder of the greater meaning and effort that come with small, simple gestures.