Boy Scouts Honor Veterans Ahead Of Memorial Day 2021 | PHOTOS

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Boy Scouts from all over Mecklenburg County came together on Saturday to honor and recognize fallen veterans, by placing American flags on their graves ahead of Memorial Day.

Troops with the Boy Scouts Of America in Mecklenburg County placed over 5,000 flags on the gravesites of military personnel, who served and sacrificed their lives for the United States, at Evergreen Cemetery and Sharon View Cemetery in Charlotte.

While at Evergreen Cemetery Saturday morning, troop leaders spoke about the importance of Memorial Day and remembering the lives that were lost protecting America’s freedoms

A younger scout spoke out to say “Memorial Day shouldn’t be treated as just a day off, it’s a day to honor and say thank you to those before us that fought for our country’s freedom.”

Mecklenburg County Council Scouting organization officials say the best way to understand the magnitude of the service and sacrifice of a veteran, is to get to know the story of a single soldier.

While anyone can read in a textbook that more than 400,000 Americans died in World War II and more than 58,000 Americans died in the Vietnam War, officials say this number can feel abstract and impersonal.

The Boy Scouts of Mecklenburg County share the story of Army Staff Sergeant Christopher Chapman, an Eagle Scout in Mecklenburg County in Troop 49, who lost his life when he was only 25-years-old.

Officials say Chapman and his helicopter crew flew low across the sands of Saudi Arabia, attempting to avoid enemy artillery, after rescuing an injured soldier back in 1991.

Before Chapman and his crew could make it to a medical facility, a sandstorm engulfed the helicopter. The pilot attempted to land, but the helicopter crashed killing all seven service members inside.

Officials say Chapman is survived by his two brothers, wife, daughter, and two stepsons, and is buried less than 20 yards away from his Eagle Scout project in Charlotte.

The Chapmans are a Scouting family, with two of Christopher Chapman’s brothers and his nephew earning the Eagle award

Christopher Chapman’s brother Michael Chapman, with a Life rank in the Scouts, says Memorial day should be about the soldiers who died while serving and their families.

Michael Chapman says “It’s a day of remembrance and reverence, not a holiday or big sales day. On this day, we must honor our fallen soldiers and their families, and understand that these men and women died so that we can maintain our freedom.”

After Christopher Chapman’s death, officials say he was awarded with the Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, and Air Medal with a “V” device for valor.