The Boy Scouts of the Philippines will mark the 55th death anniversary of the 24 scouts who died in a plane crash while en route to the 11th World Jamboree in Marathon, Greece in 1963. The event, to be held on July 28 in various monuments of the Scout heroes, will also honor other scouts, who, according to Secretary General Rogelio S. Villa Jr., “died so that others may live.”
The center of the memorial is the Ala-Ala mausoleum located at the gate of the North Cemetery, where the tombs of the 24 scouts are located. Parents and relatives of the Scouts, BSP board members, Manila City Mayor Joseph Estrada and other local officials will grace the event together with at least 1,000 scouts and their leaders from selected schools in Metro Manila. Simultaneous memorial services will be held at the Quezon Memorial Circle, Letran College, San Sabastian College, San Beda College and other provinces where the scout heroes came from.
Villa said that “The 55th anniversary of the scouts’ death bares meaning to Scouting, as we shall continue honoring them by doing what these Scouts would have done for their country and fellowmen. We give due respect to them and their families who continue to join us in this noble undertaking.”
Villa said it was on July 28, 1963, when all passengers and crew members of United Arab Airlines Flight 869 died when it crashed into the Arabian Sea. The flight, which originated in Hong Kong and had a stopover in Bangkok, Thailand, had the 24 Filipino scouts and scout leaders as passengers.
He said the world mourned the tragedy and drew support and sympathy from the global Scouting community. Since then, the BSP, with parents, relatives, and friends of the deceased scouts and scouters had religiously commemorated their death in simple and brief ceremonies.
In Proclamation No.293, series of 1988, President Corazon C. Aquino declared July 28 of every year as Boy Scouts of the Philippines Memorial Day which also honors Scout Heroes who lost their lives while in the performance of their scouting duties.
Villa said to perpetuate the memories of the Scout Heroes, the local government of Quezon City had named several streets in the city after the 24 Scouts.