By Brett Nachtigall
HOT SPRINGS – When the United States flag becomes worn, torn or faded and no longer appropriate to display, one cannot simply throw away America’s primary symbol of freedom. Instead, Old Glory is retired with all the dignity and respect befitting our nation’s flag, which is what took place at the Hot Springs American Legion last week, on the evening of Tuesday, April 10.
The ceremony itself, which is a regular quarterly occurrence at the Legion, involved a number of American Legion personnel reading a script and then ceremoniously, one by one, setting old flags onto a bonfire located in the parking lot between the Legion and the viaduct. Flags needing retired are locally collected by the Legion, the Scouts and through Ace Hardware.
The April 10 flag retirement however was a bit different than ceremonies held previously, as this time it also involved a number of young boys who are members of the local Cub Scouts Pack 22, headed up by Cub Master Curt Lout and Tiger Den Leader Ryan Walz.
After having a longstanding Cub Scout and Boys Scout program in Hot Springs for many years, the community was without a scouting program for a short time, until it was brought back recently, thanks to Lout and others who worked together to bring it back.
Lout was involved in Scouts during his younger days while growing up in Aberdeen. His dad was a Scout Leader, and he himself was just one step short of fulfilling his Eagle Scout requirements. He said part of his motivation for bringing back scouting to Hot Springs was so that his son Brody would have the same opportunities he had as a child.
The flag retirement ceremony his scouts attended last week was part of a chapter they had been discussing with the kids about Flag Etiquette.
“I think they were excited to be part of it, and be able to see what happens and learn the process and etiquette involved with retiring a flag,” Lout said.
Lout added that if anyone is interested in learning more about joining Cub Scouts, to contact him at 605-890-1152. He said they currently have 12 boys who are members of Pack 22. They typically meet two to three times per month at the Scout Center near the United Churches.
Their next event will be the Pinewood Derby at the State Veterans Home on Wednesday, April 25, at 5 p.m.
Brett Nachtigall/Fall River County Herald
Hot Springs Cub Scouts from Pack 22 look on as the first U.S. flag is burned and retired as part of a ceremony held at around dusk at the Hot Springs American Legion on Tuesday, April 10. Pictured from left is Brody Lout, Sean Meyers, William O’Neill, Colton Osbourn, Carter Walz and Tiger Den Leader Ryan Walz, in back.