As the clock struck 6:30 p.m. on May 24, more than 100 Boy Scouts spread across the Baltimore National Cemetery like a wave of patriotism.
The boys ranged from Tiger Scouts just getting involved with Scouting, to Eagle Scouts, who have reached the pinnacle of Scouting.
They each placed a small American flag exactly one foot in front of every gravestone in the cemetery on Frederick Avenue to prepare them for visits by family and friends who come to honor veterans throughout Memorial Day weekend.
One Arbutus troop had a unique outlook on the day's events.
Troop 337, which meets at Holy Nativity Lutheran Church on Linden Avenue, is a troop for boys with special needs.
"We try to make it special," said scoutmaster Tim Mills. "We build our unit around the needs of our boys."
Mills, a Catonsville resident, has cerebral palsy. He has participated in the Friday evening ceremony before Memorial Day for 25 of the 26 years that it has been around, basically each year of his Scout career.
"We've been trying to talk to our guys about veterans and help them develop a concept about what it means," the 31-year-old Eagle Scout said.
Manny Brow, a 12-year-old Boy Scout in Mills' unit, was among the 10 Scouts from the troop who took part in the event Friday. He said he was glad to be there to place flags.
"To remember the people that died for America," the Pikesville resident said on the reason for the efforts by his troop and the others who took part in event.
It is Brown's first year in the Boy Scouts and his first time laying the flags.
He said he thought it would take a long time but, to his surprise, the ritual began and was completed in less than 30 minutes.
"It's special because they died for us," Brown said.
Mills said he worked with the boys to ensure they understood the full importance of their actions at the cemetery Friday.
"It's because of our veterans that we have all the freedoms and rights we have as Americans," said Mills, who said every generation of his family has at least one veteran in it.
"These people are my life," he said, looking around the cemetery. "My cousins, my grandfathers."
"The grandfathers who I sit on their laps," he said. "The uncle that took me fishing."
Kimberly Brockman Turner, the new cemetery director at Baltimore National Cemetery, said she was thrilled to have the opportunity to see the phenomenon for the first time.
"I want to get through the whole cemetery and see everything unfold," she said.
She said the flags provided a sense of peace for families visiting during the holiday weekend, a time that can be particularly hard emotionally for many.