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Boy Scouts help dispose of flags in Gilbert

Veterans and Boy Scouts came together to provide a proper send off for unserviceable flags at American Legion Post 927 in Gilbert on Saturday morning.

“This is our flag retirement ceremony. This is the proper way to retire a flag that’s frayed, feathered at the end, damaged or just old. The Boy Scouts are helping us out today as well,” Post Commander Danny Insalata said.

Insalata said that flags are routinely dropped off at the American Legion throughout the year, and stored in the basement until they can be properly put out of service.

Scouts from Troop 102, along with Cub Scouts from Packs 102 and 98, assisted the American Legion members with retiring the table full of worn out and damaged flags.

“We are going to be retiring flags the proper way. This is my third year doing it. It honors our country,” Troop 102 senior patrol leader Brian Rogers said.

Chaplain Joyce Castillo opened the ceremony with a prayer, offering thanks for everything that the American flag represents.

“Almighty God, captain of all hosts and commander over all, bless and consecrate this gathering. We thank you for our country and its flag, and for the liberty for which it stands. We thank you for the American Legion, and its banner, and the privilege you have given us to serve our country in its hours of need and times of peace. God bless our America, amen,” Castillo said.

The unserviceable flags were then presented for inspection and disposal to sergeant at arms Joe Kluk.

“These flags have become faded and worn over the graves of our departed comrades and the dead soldiers, sailors, and airmen of all our nation’s wars,” Kluk said.

Following the inspection, Legion members helped dole out flags of all sizes to the Scouts, who placed them into burn barrels for proper disposal according to American Legion rules.

Pack 98 Cub Master Marie Betlowjozowski said that the Scouts were proud to partake in the community-oriented event, and that she hoped the ceremony would help them understand the meaning of service to one’s country.

“I feel that our children need to be reminded of what is important in terms of our freedom, and why we are here to do God’s work, and work for our country,” Betlowjozowski said. “This is the Scouts wanting to do what they are meant to do, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity for them.”

Insalata said that he was proud to have the Scouts pitch in, as they may be the next generation of servicemen to carry on the tradition.

“It’s awesome. They’re our next generation, and this is a great learning experience for them,” he said.

Pack 98’s Danny Tucker, 9, tosses a few flags into a burn barrel during the flag retirement ceremony at the American Legion in Gilbert on Saturday. Scan this picture with the Prindeo app to see a photo gallery from the event. BRIAN W. MYSZKOWSKI/TIMES NEWS
Troop 102 senior patrol leader Brian Rogers assists the American Legion members with the flag retirement.
American Legion 927 Post Commander Danny Insalata stokes the flames during the burn.