Boy Scouts accept flags for retirement

Published 11:44 pm Friday, May 22, 2009

Most companies just give their employees a day off for Memorial Day.

However, the Target Import Warehouse on Manning Road went a few steps further on Friday.

The workplace held a Memorial Day ceremony during the workday Friday. Target employees with past military service were recognized and participated in a flag-folding ceremony. The employees folded two faded American flags that used to fly on the flagpole at the warehouse.

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Then, after most employees were gone for the long weekend, some of the veterans stayed behind to participate in a flag retirement ceremony, during which the flags were presented to members of Boy Scout Troop 30. Chad Truitt, an employee at the warehouse, is assistant Scoutmaster for the troop.

Heather Hise, a Target employee, said the company always has done in-house Memorial Day recognitions, but wanted to reach out to the community this year.

“Many of our team members have military experience,” she said.

During the ceremony, Target employees who are former members of the military presented the folded flags to three members of Boy Scout Troop 30, who will save them and dispose of them during a ceremony on Flag Day, June 14, at the Bethlehem Ruritan Club.

“This is to teach the kids respect for the flag,” said Mike Barnes, Troop 30 scoutmaster. “It’s not just a rag, it’s not just a cloth. It’s a symbol of our country.”

Proper respect for the flag is taught in every Boy Scout troop, Barnes said. The boys are taught that the flag is always displayed with the blue field in the top left-hand corner; that it should always be on the left of the stage, from the audience’s view, in an auditorium; and that when it becomes too faded or tattered, it should be fully burned, in a respectful manner, until the ashes are no longer recognizable as a former flag. That is what the troop will be doing on June 14, Barnes said.

“It’s not a hooting and hollering ceremony,” Barnes said. “We stay there for hours.”

Anybody who has a flag that needs to be disposed of should call the Colonial Virginia Council of Boy Scouts of America at 595-3356.