Eagle Scout creates a box to dispose of and retire American Flags

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By Cela Dorr, Contributing Writer

Justin Cappuccio stands next to the box he made to dispose of and retire American Flags.
Justin Cappuccio stands next to the box he made to dispose of and retire American Flags.

WESTBOROUGH – Grandparents have a special way in which they connect with their grandchildren. For Justin Cappuccio, his relationship with his grandfather has a distinctive twist. 

As a young child, he would receive envelopes in the mail with newspaper clippings and stories cut from an array of periodicals about scouting and, especially, about attaining the Eagle Scout rank. 

Cappuccio’s grandfather also made sure to highlight and underline parts he felt bore the most attention. It was a “delightful way to be nagged,” Cappuccio said of those letters and the way they shaped his future goals. 

Flag disposal project overcomes barriers

One of the first set of instructions that Scouts learn is flag etiquette and the US Flag Code, which outlines the way a flag should be cared for, one’s behavior when in front of it and, if it becomes necessary, the method to retire or dispose of it. 

The Westborough Fire Department offered space to Justin Cappuccio for his flag disposal project.
The Westborough Fire Department offered space to Justin Cappuccio for his flag disposal project.

Inspired by a relationship he has with a veteran who lives in his neighborhood and those early teachings in Boy Scouts, Cappuccio decided that his Eagle Scout project would focus on the flag.  

He opted to create a public receptacle where anyone could deposit their flags instead of just throwing them in the garbage. He was able to incorporate the design and construction of this box into a long-term project for a high school wood shop. 

However, there were a few starts and stops along the way in this process. Between the wood shop teacher being out for medical leave, sustaining a broken wrist and then the school year ending, it was beginning to look like this project wasn’t going to happen. 

Luckily though, Cappuccio was able to borrow some tools from a family friend, and complete the box. 

With the help of some mentors within his Troop, he was able to place the box within the front hallway of the Westborough Fire Station. The public can place their flags in the box for proper and respectful disposal. 

This includes burning the flag, as long as it’s made of materials that will not pose a threat to one’s health from the smoke, or folding it into a ceremonial triangle to then be buried in a wooden box. 

Project success exceeds expectations

Having been in the Fire Station for just over a year now, the box has received heaps of donations, more than Cappuccio had initially anticipated. 

Cappuccio chuckled when he recalled a phone call he received from Fire Department personnel who told him the box was overflowing. He gasped as the mountain of stars and stripes started to tumble from their temporary shelter, but he made sure to keep them from going onto the floor. 

Cappuccio has just finished his freshman year at Fitchburg State University, where he is majoring in criminal justice. 

When asked if Grandpa is still “delightfully nagging” him, he replied, “Only on text messages now.”

 

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