The American Legion Boys State is in its 80th year at WVU Jackson’s Mill. It is the only Boys State across the nation that is still held in the same place it originated.
Approximately 368 young men attended this year, with 17 of those from Lewis County. Dignitaries spoke each day to the attendees, including West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner.
Thursday evening, a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier ceremony was held, with Robbie Robertson, of American Legion Post #14, giving the history of the guarding of the tomb.
Each year, campers build a society, complete with a governor, a congress, military, a newspaper and other official offices. These campers conduct the ceremony, with the laying of the wreaths completed by the governor, secretary of state, speaker of the house, senate president, adjudant general and a colonel.
The wreaths represent the American Legion, the state of West Virginia and all MIA-POW. Following the wreath laying, a 21 gun salute was given by American Legion members. Crosses were also set up, with each cross representing 1,000 West Virginians who died in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Beirut, Panama, the Gulf War, Iraq, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. The tomb was donated by the WV Cemetery Memorial Day Committee in Grafton.
Following the ceremony, a performance was given with James Dague as Abraham Lincoln and Elizabeth Kocsis as Mary Todd Lincoln.
Robertson has been involved with WV Boys State for 15 years, and said the group this year was one of the best.
“This group is a very, very polite, respectful group,” he said.