Local News

Boy Scouts Retire Old American Flags With Respect

Posted December 12, 2001

— What do you do with an American flag that has faded or that is tattered and torn? A local scout troop is on a mission to properly retire Old Glory.

Flag etiquette requires that the American flag be flown in specific ways and on specific occasions. Not flying the flag properly is considered a sign of disrespect; the same is true of flying a worn-out flag.

The Boy Scouts of Troop 398 in Raleigh know that the symbol of the United States should never fly faded or torn. So they seek out worn-out flags and dispose of them properly.

Troop leader Kent Davis said that when he sees a tattered flag flying, especially at businesses, he will make the point known.

"That's when I pull in and tell them that they need to make some kind of arrangement to get a new flag up and take the old one down. I know most of the time, the neglect that the flag suffers is more out of ignorance than it is out of apathy," he said.

Davis said that most people are happy to oblige.

The scouts retire the flags in a ceremony. Before the flags are burned, the blue and white field representing the 50 states is cut away from the red and white stripes representing the 13 original colonies.

"I'm retiring it in the belief that those will all still be states when I'm an old man," said scout Taylor Hedberg.

Anyone with a flag that needs to be retired can contact their local Boy Scout Council or their local Veteran's Administration.

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