Local Boy Scout Dylan Armstrong is organizing a Flag Retirement Ceremony Sunday at American Legion Walter H. Burt Post 30 as part of his final project to attain the rank of Eagle Scout. Armstrong is a member of Troop 15 which is part of the Aguila District of the Chehaw Council Boy Scouts of America headquartered in Albany. (Special Photo)
ALBANY — Noticing many United States flags visible in the area that appeared tattered and worn, local Eagle Scout candidate Dylan Armstrong decided as a Boy Scout that he ought to do something about it.
As part of his Eagle Scout project, Armstrong, a member of Boy Scout Troop 15, which is part of the Aguila District of the Chehaw Council of the Boy Scouts of America, has organized a Flag Retirement ceremony to be held Sunday at the American Legion Walter H. Burt Post 30 on Gillionville Road.
“Growing up in Albany I’ve noticed a lot of flags that are just raggedy and torn,” said Armstrong. “There’s one where my mom plays tennis and it’s so worn it’s see through. It’s just disrespectful to the flag. A friend of mine said something to me about the idea and I just went with it.”
With the idea planted, Armstrong went about the business of planning his Eagle Scout project and looking for ways to honor the flag and educate others about it’s importance.
According to Troop 15 Assistant Scout Master Ned Newcomb, members of the Legion Post 30, which conducts regular flag retirement ceremonies, are assisting Armstrong with his ceremony as a way of educating area residents on proper flag etiquette and disposal.
“The flag is a sacred symbol of our country,” Newcomb said. “You don’t simply wad it up and throw it in the trash when it gets old and worn. Our flag is important to us and it needs to be retired properly.”
Newcomb said proper retirement consists of burning the flag in a ceremonial way to honor it.
“We’re burning the flag as a symbol of honor, not like others do as a symbol of hate,” said Newcomb. “As you drive around the community you see all over flags that need to be retired properly. This ceremony will help the community learn a little bit about why a flag needs to be destroyed.”
Newcomb said Eagle Scout candidates like Armstrong are required to complete a final Eagle Scout project before they can achieve the honored rank.
Once his project is complete Armstrong, who is a junior at Westover High School, will be the first Scout from Troop 15 to achieve the Eagle Scout rank this year, something Newcomb said will help Armstrong as he prepares to head to college and later on when seeking employment.
Newcomb said achieving the Eagle Scout rank shows prospective colleges and employers that an applicant can work toward a long-term commitment and achieve excellence, since it takes most Scouts three to five years to complete the rank and they must do so before their 18th birthday.
The Eagle badge has not gotten diminished over the years,” Newcomb said. “It still means a lot. Dylan is a great Scout and we’re very proud of him.”
Despite the fact, that the Eagle Scout rank might help open doors for him down the road, Armstrong said the hard work he’s put in during his scouting career, has meant much more than that to him.
“I went to St. Paul’s church when I was younger and they do a program there every year called Scout Sunday where the Scouts let the church know how appreciative they are that the church lets them use space there supports them,” said Armstrong. “I though that was cool and asked a friend of mine who was a Scout about it and decided to try it. I went to a summer camp and it was really fun so I just stuck with it. I’ve had a blast going though.”
The Flag Retirement ceremony, which is slated to begin at 3 p.m. Sunday, is the final step for Armstrong before he goes before the scouting board for review and attains the Eagle Scout rank.
To help make the ceremony a success, Armstrong is encouraging local residents to not only attend the event but also donate any flags they have that are worn and tattered and need to be retired properly. To that end, Armstrong has arranged drop-off locations through the community.
Anyone wanting to donate a flag can drop it off at the Pic-N-Save on East Oglethorpe Boulevard, Gieryic’s Auto Repair on Dawson Road or at Porterfield United Methodist Church. Anyone who cannot make it to a drop off location can also contact Dylan on his Facebook page, Dylan Armstrong, and make arrangements to have the flag picked up.