Area Scouts hold flag retirement ceremony Saturday

Local Boy Scouts display a large flag Saturday before retiring it, separating each red and white stripe and the blue field, and consigning them individually to the flames. The ceremony, conducted to respectfully destroy old and worn out flags, was held at the Scouts' Camp Thomas on Driver Road. Area residents and veterans from the Lamun-Lusk-Sanchez State Veterans Home were on hand to observe the retirement of about four American flags, a Texas state flag, and a POW-MIA flag.Local Boy Scout leader Mark Richardson salutes after placing the starry blue canton of an American flag on the flames in memory of his father, a U.S. Army Vietnam veteran. Local Scouts retired the flag as well as four or five others during a ceremony at Camp Thomas Saturday afternoon.Local Boy Scouts display a Prisoner of War-Missing in Action flag which was then retired by fire during a ceremony Saturday at Camp Thomas, along with several American flags and a Texas flag. Unlike the national and state banners, the POW-MIA flag is not separated into its components before burning, symbolizing that prisoners of war and service members missing in action can never be separated from the memory of American citizens. Scout leader Mark Richardson said that this was the first POW-MIA flag local SAs fellow Scouts hold an American flag taut, First-Class Scout Chris Carrillo uses scissors to separate stripes one by one from the banner to be respectfully destroyed by burning. The Scouts held the flag retirement ceremony at Camp Thomas on Driver Road, where several American flags, a Texas state flag, and a POW-MIA flag were retired due to their worn condition.Scout Leader Mark Richardson, right in the green shirt, goes over procedures for the flag retirement before the Scouts conduct the ceremony for the respectful disposal of worn American, Texas, and POW-MIA flags Saturday at Camp Thomas on Driver Road.
Roger Cline
Staff Writer

What happens to a flag that gets too worn out, faded, or ragged to continue to fly? There are probably a lot of answers to that question, but a group of local Scouts know – and do – what should happen to them.
"We separated the colors of the flags: the red, the white, and the blue. We separated the stripes, and then laid each stripe into the fire to honor them. And then you fold the stars, the field of blue, and place it into the fire as well," said Eagle Scout Matthew Hernandez of Big Spring's Troop 5. "You do the same thing with the Texas flag, but obviously the Texas only has the three sections. And the POW flag, you would do all at once because there aren't any stripes. It symbolizes the missing and all the people who were captured, as one."
Speaking after the flag retirement ceremony conducted by local Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, and one Girl Scout at Camp Thomas on Driver Road Saturday, Hernandez said the flags should look their best, and if age and wear has caught up to them, it's time to let them rest.

For the full story, please see Monday's paper.