Boy Scouts honor veterans, hold flag retirement ceremony

| November 12, 2018

Don Bercot carefully places a flag on the fire at Plainfield Cemetery on Sunday, Nov. 11, as Boy Scouts honored veterans and held a flag retirement ceremony. Jen Jones | Beacon

PLAINFIELD – A small crowd gathered at Plainfield Cemetery on Sunday, Nov. 11 to honor veterans and join a flag retirement ceremony.

Shelley McCormick, of Helping Hands for Special Needs Scouts, organized the ceremony. “We did it in Gnadenhutten last year, but I wanted to come here this year. This cemetery has veterans from the Civil War until now.” The ceremony included recognizing four veterans and their branches of service and then the veterans would help retire several flags.

Once a flag becomes faded or torn, it should be retired and a new one flown.  “Many of our flags today came from the American Legion,” said McCormick.  Anyone can donate their used flags to the scouts to be properly retired. Boy Scout Troop 406 from Burt Wesleyan Church in Coshocton helped with the ceremony.

Several flags were broken down, so that each color would be burned at the same time. Each veteran was asked to place a blue, red and white bundle into the flames.  After the pieces were burned, anyone could join the ceremony and place a properly folded flag into the flames. As the flags burned, a moment of silence was broken only by the sound of John Lindig, Ridgewood High School Band Director, playing Taps.

Brandon Blythe, 16, was one of the scouts taking part in the ceremony. “It’s so important to bring recognition to the veterans – they deserve a lot. It’s good to honor them.” When asked about the importance of retiring flags properly, he said, “It’s the same as with the veterans. The flags served and deserve to be treated with respect and recognized. It’s really hard to find the right words – it’s more of something you just feel.”

Don Bercot, who served in the United States Army, was one of the veterans honored. “It’s just awesome. It’s an honor and a privilege to be part of this with the scouts.”

Another veteran was Shane Griffiths who served in the United States Air Force from 2006-2012 and was part of Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. “It’s an honor to be part of this. It’s nice to know veterans are still being remembered.”

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