Northborough Boy Scouts hold Flag Day flag retirement ceremony

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Northborough Boy Scouts hold Flag Day flag retirement ceremony
Northborough Boy Scouts gathered at the Legion Post in town earlier this month for a ceremony to properly dispose of old American flags on Flag Day. (Photo/Stuart Foster)

NORTHBOROUGH – Northborough Boy Scout Troop 101 cerimonially burned multiple old U.S. flags as part of a flag retirement ceremony earlier this month at the American Legion Post 234. 

Boy Scouts initially built boxes to collect flags at the Legion Post. On Flag Day on June 14, they then gathered to dispose of the flags in accordance with the U.S. Flag Code.

“The significance of the ceremony is to show respect for our country and for the flag that flies above it,” said Senior Patrol Leader Peter Wixted. 

Wixted noted that the ceremony is done by the Boy Scouts to promote patriotism. He said it is not done out of any nationalistic ideals, but out of a general sense of respect for the American flag and values.

Troop 101 has held the ceremony for the past 12 years after it was launched as part of Eagle Scout Matthew Pfannenstiel’s Eagle Scout project. Pfannenstiel collected flags throughout Northborough and wrote a speech that is still read annually during the ceremony.

Other Eagle Scout projects since then have contributed to the ceremony, Assistant Scoutmaster Daniel Covino said. 

Brant Powley created the burn pit at the American Legion for his project six years ago.

Gabriel Prepetit designed a storage shed for the flags for his project four years ago.

After Boy Scouts read Pfannenstiel’s speech this year, they cut a flag ceremonially before burning its red stripes, white stripes and blue section separately. Then, they took turns throwing many other flags into the burn pit.

“We’re not just throwing them in the trash,” Wixted said. “That’s disrespectful.”

“It’s important to dispose of them properly instead of just chucking them out,” he continued.

Wixted noted that the American Legion is closely tied to scouting, adding that he had recently built a bookshelf for it.

“We like it here. We like all the people here, and I think this is a good thing overall for the community,” Wixted said.

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