SPOKANE, Wash. — A Moscow Boy Scout is making it his goal to identify the gravesites of every single veteran buried in Moscow's cemetery.
Local veterans' groups knew the names of the veterans buried at the cemetery, the scout says, but the their specific locations in the graveyard containing around 10,500 tombstones weren't entirely clear.
"I thought it would be pretty meaningful for all the families," said Aaron Ulliman, the Boy Scout and recent high school graduate.
Ulliman adopted the task of mapping the cemetery as a project required to earn the rank of Eagle Scout, the Boy Scout's highest rank. He said a local Veterans of Foreign Wars outpost contacted Ulliman's Boy Scout troop looking for assistance in locating the graves.
Ulliman added that a local American Legion group was in possession of donated flags to place by each grave, but was unaware of where each veteran was buried.
Using a list of veterans from both the VFW and American Legion, Ulliman used maps from the cemetery and subsequently started identifying the graves of each veteran. His hope is to eventually create a list of vets and a corresponding map showing their locations.
"I personally just went through each map, trying to look for each name and highlight them," Ulliman said.
So far, Ulliman estimates he's identified between 30%-40% of all the veterans buried there. "It's taken quite a while to do that," said Ulliman, chuckling. The Boy Scout added that not all of the lists of veterans provided to him were complete. "It was a lot bigger than I thought when I took on the project," he said, noting that he has identified additional veterans based on their tombstones.
On Memorial Day, Ulliman helped place flags at the graves of each vet he had identified. "I feel proud that I can help the community in this way," he said.
While the project isn't complete yet, Ulliman indicated that he plans to continue mapping the cemetery. He said that the project could be picked up by future groups of Boy Scouts as well.