Memorial will bloom again

By Karen Colbenson

A memorial and flower bed created more than 70 years ago to honor the Gold Star mothers of World War I is getting a fresh look thanks to a Boy Scout seeking his Eagle.

Spencer Green spent time Saturday planting flowers around the Gold Star Mothers Memorial plaque near Austin Municipal Pool’s flagpole. The bronze plaque states, "This flower bed dedicated to the Gold Star Mothers of Austin, Minnesota" and lists the names of 10 mothers whose sons died in World War I. The plaque was placed in 1936, but no longer has a flower bed surrounding it.

The Scout’s connection goes beyond his project.


Green said he also has been working with the American Legion, which chartered Troop 112 in 1935 and was the memorial’s original sponsor. Green said he would like to hold a ceremony at the memorial once the planting is done, and hopes to track down some of the living relatives of the names on the memorial so that they can attend.

Green has earned 22 merit badges during his time in Troop 112. Now in 11th grade, Green is working on the final requirement for obtaining Eagle. That requirement is to imagine an idea and carry out a plan to accomplish it. He started scouts as a Cub Scout when he was in second grade.

"I’ve always wanted to become an Eagle Scout," said Green. "It’s important for me to get here because I’ve been in Scouting for so long."

Gold Star Mothers is a national organization of mothers who have lost a son or daughter in the service. It was started by Grace Darling Seibold after she lost her son in aerial combat in France in 1918, and was named after the Gold Star that families hung in their windows in honor of a deceased veteran.

With help from the rest of the troop, friends and Berg’s Nursery, Green planted perennials around the memorial. He chose perennials because he said they will bloom year after year without being replanted. The troop plans to maintain the flower bed.

"I want this to mean more than just a flower bed to someone," Green said.

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