Name: Jacob Z Huller
From: Schwenksville, Pennsylvania
Grade: 11th Grade
School: Perkiomen Valley High School
In Boy Scouts, the ultimate goal is to reach the final rank: Eagle. The last requirement for the rank is to do a project that benefits an
organization or the community in some way, shape, or form. The scout wishing to make Eagle must show that they are capable of leading a group of volunteers in completing their project, and must get the project approved by various people before starting it . The Eagle Scout Project I decided to do was collecting worn and tattered flags from throughout my area and holding a proper retirement ceremony for them.
My project benefitted the community because not many people know what to do with flags that have outlived their usefulness. According to the US Flag Code, a flag is to be disposed of by burning or recycling. It should be cut up, with the starfield being separated from the stripes and the stripes being cut apart along the edges of the starfield. To retire the flags, I researched numerous ceremonies and compiled them into a script, to be performed by myself and my fellow scouts. My family helped me purchase five flag collection boxes off the internet, and I made flyers to help spread the word. Also, I sent out emails to family and friends, asking them if they had any flags to donate. I even got my school to add my project to the morning announcements. The boxes were placed at my school, my father’s union hall, the church where my troop meets, and in the church to which my family belongs. To enlist help in checking on the boxes, cutting the flags, and performing the ceremony, I held a presentation on flag retirement at one of my troop’s meetings. After about four weeks, I removed the boxes and had the flags sorted by size (large, medium, small) and type (cotton or polyester). I wanted to be environmentally friendly, so I decided not to burn the polyester flags; only the cotton ones. In total, I collected 329 flags.
On March 23, 2016, I had volunteers from my troop assist with cutting up the flags. By the end of the day, we had properly cut up all but one, which was going to be cut up at the ceremony. Then we went over the script. We assigned roles and made edits, meeting again the next week to go over it again. I decided to hold my flag ceremony at my troop’s camping trip at Evansburg State Park, on the weekend of May 7, 2016. On that day, my family delivered the materials, the troop and I rehearsed, a fire was lit, and the audience arrived. While the polyester flags were not going to be burned, I felt it necessary to include them, so they were placed in boxes next to the fire. After the fire got going, the ceremony began. The last flag, belonging to my late great grandmother, was cut up, stripe-by-stripe, with each stripe being placed into the fire and a scout stating what each one symbolized. After that, audience members were invited up to place a flag piece into the fire. Once all the pieces were burned, we all sang the Star Spangled Banner, concluding the ceremony. On May 16, 2016, my project officially ended with me taking the remaining polyester flags to the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization, who had agreed to properly dispose of them.
Ultimately, my project was successful because it educated the community about proper flag disposal, showed respect for national symbols in accordance with the law, and performed a service by helping people get rid of their worn flags that they didn’t know what to do with. I learned leadership, planning skills, and how to pitch an idea to get approval. These skills will be very useful in the future, for
business meetings, managing projects, and organizing a group to complete a task.