Youth Ambassador ~ Eric Slaughter

Our Mission: To Remember, Honor and TeachMy name is Eric Slaughter.  I am a freshman at Lone Tree High School.  I was invited to be the 2009 Wreaths Across America Youth Ambassador.

One of the goals that I was asked to achieve was to assist in honoring veterans throughout Johnson County.  We got a list of the veterans buried throughout the county and then flagged the graves so that they were marked in the event of snow. We were very happy we did this because we had six inches of fresh snow when it was time for the ceremony.  When we laid the wreaths on the day of the ceremony we had to work hard.  The gravesites had lots of ice and snow covering them. We wanted to make sure every name was uncovered so each veteran was remembered individually that day.  We laid wreaths to honor veterans in Lone Tree and then went to Oakland Cemetery in Iowa City.  The wreath laying went by really fast even with the huge area to cover.

After all of the wreath laying was done we all sat down for the ceremony.  We saw the colors presented, heard patriotic music and listed to Lieutenant Colonel David Kim from the Army speak about what it meant to him to be an American when he immigrated to America from Korea.

I was asked to give a short speech on a battle that Iowans were involved in. I spoke about the Honey War of 1839. The Honey War was a bloodless territorial dispute in the 1830s between Iowa and Missouri over their border.

The dispute over a 9.5-mile wide strip running the entire length of the border, caused by unclear wording in the Missouri Constitution on boundaries, misunderstandings over the survey of the Louisiana Purchase, and a misreading of Native American treaties, was ultimately decided by the United States Supreme Court in Iowa’s favor. The decision was to affirm a nearly 30-mile jog in the nearly straight line border between in extreme southeast Iowa and northeast Missouri at Keokuk, Iowa that is now Iowa’s southernmost point.

Before the issue was settled, militias from both sides faced each other at the border, a Missouri sheriff collecting taxes in Iowa was incarcerated, and three trees containing beehives were cut down.

The other part of my mission was to help my peers learn about the importance of our American history and to encourage them to be a part of the Wreaths Across America Program.  I am happy to report that we had about 100 Boy Scouts from several troops from across the area participate.

This was a very fun unique experience. I invite other students to be a part of Wreaths Across America.  See the website at wreathsacrossamerica.com.

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