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Coronavirus makes Boy Scouts find creative way of honoring veterans on Memorial Day weekend

The pandemic prevented them from placing flags at graves so instead they created a website where you can leave a digital message for a veteran

TAMPA, Fla. — It's a tradition that means so much to so many on Memorial Day - placing flags at the graves of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Boy Scouts across the country honor the tradition every year by placing flags at graves but this year with the coronavirus pandemic, it's no longer allowed for safety reasons. 

But, they didn't let the coronavirus stop their efforts and instead got creative, working with the National Cemetery Administration, an agency within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, to allow people to leave a digital message of support for veterans. 

"It means a lot. My grandfather was buried at Arlington," Eagle Scout Ryan Porter said. "It's just nice to see the flags because you know that other people outside of my immediate family care about what my grandfather did and gave up while serving our country."

The website is called the "Veterans Legacy Memorial" and holds the information of 3.7 million veterans from across the nation. 

On the site, you can search for and leave messages for veterans. They encourage everyone to take a few minutes out of their day and leave a message for at least one veteran on the website. 

While cemeteries are currently closed, they will be opened this weekend for families and friends to leave flowers and individual flags at grave sites but they discourage large groups or getting too close to other people. 

They hope this creative solution will help even more people get involved in honoring a veteran.

"Thank you for all you've done and we are still thinking about you this Memorial Day," Porter said, "Whenever it is safe to do so we'll try and get out there and place flags that we would have placed."

Scouts will also participate in the National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day by saluting the American flag at home, wearing full Scouting uniform and saying the name of a fallen service member as they would if they were placing a flag at the grave. 

If you are planning on going to a cemetery this weekend, its encouraged to check they will be open and what limitations they have in place for safety. 

Scouts are also finding a way to help those in need here in Tampa Bay during the coronavirus. They launched a virtual food drive with Feeding Tampa Bay. Each Scout is aiming to raise $50 in food donations and so far they have raised $13,000 in food supplies. Click here to learn more.

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