Boy Scout Troop 301, sponsored by Wilkesboro United Methodist Church, conducted a flag retirement ceremony Saturday evening at Whippoorwill Academy and Village in Ferguson.

It was held in conjunction with Memorial Day. Chuck Marley, Troop 301 activities director, opened the ceremony with a prayer.

Troop 301 Scoutmaster Jeff Foster spoke about what the flag means to those who served in the military, including himself. Foster said it was an honor to participate in flag retirement ceremony.

“The flag doesn’t belong in the trash can once its service has been completed,” said Foster about worn-out U.S. flags. He said there are proper ways to retire flags.

According to the U.S. Flag Code, burning is the preferred method of retiring a U.S. flag.

Four Scouts in Troop 301 demonstrated a ceremonial retirement of a U.S. flag during the event. Earlier that day, they retired about 15 additional worn-out U.S. flags by burning. Grommets from these other flags were given to veterans at the ceremony Saturday.

Troop 301 Senior Patrol Leader Seth Huffman used scissors to cut the flag being retired in the ceremony into four pieces while it was held by Scouts Seth Marley, Blake Royal and Tyler Royal.

A section with the 50 stars was left intact because it’s considered improper to symbolically divide the nation by cutting this portion of the flag.

Assistant Scoutmaster Brian Huffman read a narrative that described what the different folds of the flag as it is properly folded into a triangular shape, with only the stars showing.

Huffman said the first fold represents life; the second fold, belief in eternal life; the third fold is in honor of veterans who sacrificed on behalf of freedom and peace; the fourth fold, faith in God; the fifth fold is a tribute to the U.S.; the sixth fold represents “where our hearts lie” in allegiance to the U.S.; the seventh fold is a tribute to the American armed forces; the eighth fold is a tribute to Jesus Christ; the ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood; the 10th fold is a tribute to fathers; the 11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and Solomon and glorifies God; and the 12th fold represents belief in eternal life and the Holy Trinity.

Huffman said the last fold, when only the stars of the flag can be seen, represents the national motto, “In God we trust.”

Margaret Martine, Whippoorwill owner, played “Taps” on the fiddle for the event. About a dozen people were on hand to watch.

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