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Scouts retire #039;Old Glory#039; at ceremony

PEDRO-- "Taps" rang through the hills of Pedro while American flags were retired in honor of those who serve our country -- and the ones who died in the process.

"This is for firefighters, police officers, those who died on Sept. 11, and those who have fought in wars," said Ann Bush, assistant scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 51.

Several brought flags to the Scouts to have them retired, she said. At the beginning of the ceremony, 14 flags were collected. U.S. Bank gave a large flag to the scouts for retirement, but they opted to keep it for ceremonies.

In Saturday's ceremony, U.S. flags which were worn or weathered were properly retired by the Scouts' honor guard. When retiring the first flag, each stripe is cut from the flag, explained Nathan Wagner, the 15-year-year-old senior patrol leader. The blue part of the flag is left by itself. Then, each stripe is thrown into a fire with the name of one of the 13 original colonies called each time. When the blue part of the flag goes into the fire, the guard members turn their backs and salute.

For subsequent flags, the flag is unfolded and put on the fire by the honor guard, he continued. The guard members turn their backs and salute.

"Fire and police work every day to protect us," Wagner added. "They deserve our respect and even more after 9/11. But, they deserve our respect every day."

Those sentiments were echoed by Jake Malone, 7.

"They're really nice and they help people," he said.

Firefighters from the Elizabeth Township fire department came to watch the ceremony.

"We were honored to be invited," said Chief Dale Waugh. "Firefighters are a great asset to our country. They're in danger almost every time they go on a run."

Bush added that the boys had been preparing for the ceremony since July.

"They showed dedication," she said. "They gave up Saturdays and worked nights through the weeks. They even worked after school started this year."

Scoutmasters read several essays about Sept. 11, the American flag and several other pieces with a patriotic theme as Alan Jackson's "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?" and "Taps" were played. Then, the old, tattered flags were turned into ashes.

"The World Trade Center was extinguished from our view, but not from our memory," Bush read. "This is a time when we should grab our loved ones and hold them close. It's a time when it's OK to feel, and it's OK to cry." Amelia Pridemore/The Ironton Tribune