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 veteran's gravestone in the cemetery on Frederick Avenue to prepare them for visits by family and friends who come to honor the veterans throughout Memorial Day weekend.

For Scott Wood and his sons, Joshua and Michael, the annual evening spent placing flags on the gravesites was a family affair.

The boys are members of Catonsville Troop 307, which was chartered more than 80 years ago.

Scott Wood said they have been coming to the event since Joshua, now 13, was in Tiger Scouts, the level at which youngsters, usually in first grade, are introduced to Scouting and before now 10-year-old Michael was even old enough to join.

"We have been coming to this event for 8 or 10 years," Scott Wood said.

"It's a nice way to start Memorial Day weekend," he said. "It has a lot of meaning."

"It's a wonderful image to watch the boys sweep across the field and see the red, white and blue," he said.

The flags, which are re-used every year, are placed at various checkpoints throughout the cemetery and when the time came, the boys simultaneously placed them throughout the 72-acre property using the same method for each gravestone.

"We usually put our foot against the gravestone and place it at our heel," said Walter Myers, a 74-year-old who has been involved with the Scouts for almost his entire life.

The two brothers joined more than 20 others from the troop that meets at Catonsville United Methodist Church, in the Friday evening ceremony.

Michael Wood proudly displayed a souvenir he received from the evening's work: a broken flag he folded into a small triangle.

"They told me I could keep this," he said, proudly displaying the delicate fabric with a beaming smile.

"It was hanging on (to the pole) by two threads," he said of the flag. "When the wind blew, it came off.

"I think when there's an old flag, it's been through so much, it's been doing it all these years," the Boy Scout said.

"It means there's been so many years of respecting these people," Michael said.

"I kept this flag as a souvenir so I can remember that I do this every year and I give my time to pay my respect," he said.

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.