Darryl Grubbs, recently elected as Senior Patrol Leader of Boy Scout Troop 418, carefully drops one of the flags into the burn barrel at the Memorial Day ceremony.

Darryl Grubbs, recently elected as Senior Patrol Leader of Boy Scout Troop 418, carefully drops one of the flags into the burn barrel at the Memorial Day ceremony.   

Monday, May 30, 2022, was a long day for Boy Scout Troop 418 where they began the morning as participants at the Memorial Day ceremony at Palms Woodlawn Cemetery. They regrouped at the Homestead John G. Salley American Legion Post 43, their charter organization, for their own special flag retirement ceremony to be held at noon.

Philip Stam has been Scout Leader, Troop 418, since 1997 and said they added a Girl Troop last month and in September 2021 a Cub Pack. Darryl Grubbs, age fourteen, was recently elected as the Senior Patrol Leader of Boy Scout Troop 418 to replace Jake Neimark.

A different upcoming “change of leaders” is Bob Hanke, who has been the American Legion Post Commander for eight years. Their election is scheduled for July. “We lost a number of members during COVID-19,” he said. “Some passed away and others relocated. We’re looking to bring in new members who will become ‘the new guard’. Fourth of July will be their next big event.

Individuals drop flags off throughout the year for the ceremony and some, like member Stan Kamin, bring their flag the day of. The veteran post office worker was a contractor postal carrier when Homestead Air Force Base was active. They lived just outside the base near the golf course. “I fly my flag at home every day,” he said and retires it when needed.

The scouts had carefully prepared the burn barrel in the parking lot and the crowd went outside for the official start. There were approximately 100 cotton flags on hand and they follow the guidelines as explained.

“When the United States flag (Old Glory) becomes worn, torn, faded or badly soiled, it is time to replace it with a new flag, and the old flag should be ‘retired’ with all the dignity and respect befitting our nation's flag. The traditional method of retirement is to incinerate the flag, but this does not mean that one should simply drop the entire flag (intact) into a fire.

A flag ceases to be a flag when it is cut into pieces. In addition, it is easier to completely incinerate the flag, if it is cut into smaller pieces. A flag should never be torn up like an old bed sheet. It should be cut up with scissors or shears in a methodical manner. The corners of the flag should be stretched out over a table top and someone should cut the flag in half, vertically (be careful not to cut up the blue star field.”

As an additional note, “The reason we do not cut the blue star field is it represents the union of the fifty states and one should never let the union be broken.”

Further, “The Scouts maintain a vigil over the fire until all traces of the flag remnants are destroyed. Then, the fire is extinguished and the ashes are buried.” (http://www.usscouts.org/ceremony/flagret1.asp)

Between the midday sun and heat from the burn barrel, most attendees returned inside as Troop 418 members and individual participants completed retirement of all the flags. The afternoon was to continue with a presentation of the history of Memorial Day, passages about the importance of the flag, and a luncheon.

The American Legion is located at 399 S. Krome Ave, Homestead; Tel: (305) 247-8233; or follow them on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/ALPOST43

Of note, the Girl Troop meets at Redland Christian Academy on Tuesdays, 7:00 p.m.; and the Cub Pack on Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m.

To learn more about BSA Troop 418, go to http://bsatroop418.com or find them on Facebook.

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