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U.S. flag retirement ceremony

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013 9:25 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Curtis Clegg - cclegg@shawmedia.com)
Boy Scouts Logan Zarek, 13, left, and Chris Spielman, 12, lower an American flag into an outdoor fireplace during a flag retirement ceremony at the Elks lodge in DeKalb, Ill. on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013.

DeKALB – The members of Boy Scout Troop 4 in DeKalb gained a lot more respect for the flag Oct. 15, when they participated in a flag retirement ceremony at the Elks lodge in DeKalb.

“It’s strange because usually it’s, ‘don’t let the flag touch the ground,’ and now we are burning them,” said Adam Walter, 16. In the ceremony, the Scouts burned about 60 worn-out American flags that Elks and Legionnaires had collected over a two-month period.

Salutes, a bugler, and a prayer were all part of the solemn ceremony. A pair of Scouts carefully carried each stretched-out flag to a fire in a portable outdoor fireplace and lowered the flag center-first into the flame.

The ashes were later buried.

The event was coordinated and supervised by members of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and the American Legion in DeKalb. This was the first time the members of Troop 4 had participated in such an event.

“We’re trying to teach the kids respect for the flag and proper disposal of the flag,” said Michael Embrey, an Elk and Legionnaire.

Drop-off locations for worn-out flags include the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts in DeKalb, the Genoa and Sycamore veterans homes, and Alpine Bank in Kirkland.

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