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Boy Scout Troop 102 holds flag retiring ceremony

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[Aujgust 27, 2013]  Scout Troop 102 recently held a flag retiring ceremony at the Scout camp area in Kickapoo Creek Park. The ceremony is a very solemn event meant to dispose of worn and tattered flags in a respectful manner.

In all, the boys disposed of 13 flags during the ceremony.

Below is a copy of the ceremonial procedure and photos of the Scouts fulfilling their duty according to procedure.


Flag Retirement Ceremony

The flag of the United States of America is an honored symbol of our nation's unity, it's hopes, it's achievements, it's glory and it's high resolve. When the flag is in such condition, through wear or damage, that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, it shall be destroyed in a dignified manner befitting such a symbol. The traditional way is to cut the flag into pieces and burn it in a modest but blazing fire. As we perform this respected duty, let us reflect on the design and meaning of our flag.

The Blue field or union is the point of honor, the upper comer of the Flag's own right. The symbolism of the right hand goes far back in antiquity when it was the weapon hand. Raising the right arm free of any weapon meant peace. It became a salute, a way of giving praise and honor. The union is blue, representing the night sky with stars forming a new and glorious constellation. There is one star for each state in our union. It is said the point of honor of our flag was made from the blue clock belonging to a captain in the Continental Army.

The stripes are symbolic of beams of morning light, rays emanating from the sun-- thirteen red and white stripes, one for each of the original thirteen colonies. The stripes in our flag were inspired by the rattlesnake flag flown on the ships of the Continental Fleet and the striped banner of the Sons of Liberty. Though the pattern has changed, the bars of shining red and gleaming white have remained. The stripes are alternating, seven red and six white. The red stands for courage and the blood of those brave men and women who fought and died to establish and preserve our republic; the white representing the purity and high moral resolve on which our country was founded.

The blue of a captain's cloak, the white of a soldier's shirt, the red from a flannel petticoat of a patriot's wife-- this was our flag. This is the flag that stands for honor -yours and mine.

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We will now distribute the flag stripes to each person present.

At this time, we ask that each person holding a white stripe please come place it on the fire, laying it across the flames.

At this time, we ask that each person holding a red stripe please come place it on the fire, also laying it across the flames.

Scouts, you may now place the blue field of stars across the flames one at a time so that each field is consumed before the next one is retired.

As the fire consumes the worn and tattered material in its refining flame, let us remember the words of George Washington when the Star-spangled Banner was first flown by the Continental Army: "We take the stars from heaven and the red from our mother country. We separate the red by white stripes, thus showing that we have separated from her, and the white stripes shall go down to posterity representing liberty." Thus the Stars and Stripes became what it is; born amid the strife of battle, it has become the standard around which a free people have fought to preserve the greatest nation in the world.

[Copy of ceremonial procedure from file received from Jennifer Craig]

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