His project to offer respectful way to retire flags
For 15-year old Boy Scout Daniel Morgan, taking care of the American flag is second nature.
For his project to earn the highest rank in Scouting, Eagle Scout, Morgan wants to give his community an opportunity to follow suit.
He set up a GoFundMe page to raise $2,000 to purchase and install a metal box where people can leave old and worn U.S. flags to be ceremonially retired through burning.
The fundraising goal was met in just one month through funds provided by 52 contributors.
“This project is a way of collecting old and worn out flags that shouldn’t be flown due to age and condition,” said Morgan, a Friendswood High School freshman.
“My dad is active duty Army, and he’s taught me to be respectful of the flag, and this project also provides a service to the community by picking up these flags and disposing of them properly,” he said. “I thought this project was a good choice for those reasons.”
With the city’s approval, the collection box will be installed on a concrete slab behind City Hall, and Morgan’s Scout group, Troop No. 452, will collect the flags each week and conduct retirement ceremonies.
“We will fold them up correctly and then take these flags to our Boy Scout campouts and retire them,” Morgan said.
Morgan’s troop has been sending letters and emails to residents through the city to bring awareness to the project.
In one week, $1,600 was raised on Morgan’s GoFundMe page, with many visitors leaving encouraging messages. Now that the money has been raised, Morgan and his troop will take the next step.
The funds raised will go to buy the metal box, which will be roughly 5 foot tall and a little over a foot wide, and the labor needed to pour a concrete slab. The box looks like a large mail box with an opening flap, said Morgan, who is predicting a Spring 2019 completion date for his project. Leftover funds will be used for upkeep of the box and nearby area.
“This is a worthwhile project that can benefit all flag-flying Friendswood residents,” Mayor Mike Foreman said. “I’m thrilled that Daniel came up with this unique and useful idea.”
During his research for the project, Morgan discovered that there were not many places where residents had access to properly dispose of old flags.
When is a flag ready for retirement?
Flags that are flown eventually age, fade and fray.
“Most people can usually tell when the American flag looks like it shouldn’t be flown anymore,” Morgan said.
According to page 76 of the BSA Handbook, a national flag that is “worn beyond repair may be burned in a fire. The ceremony should be conducted with dignity and respect and the flag burned completely to ashes.”
Flags made of nylon and other synthetic materials will be retired but then recycled.
The flags collected weekly by Morgan’s troop will be retired individually in a campfire ceremony. This includes the cutting of the thirteen stripes one by one (top to bottom) while reciting words that represent each one, and then throwing each stripe into the fire in a certain order. Then the Scouts place the field of stars into the fire as one piece.
To Morgan, who joined the Boy Scouts when he was 10, the flag should be protected and kept pristine, like the uniform of a scout member, soldier, or anyone who wears a uniform in service.
“It’s a symbol of our country, and needs to look right and look it’s best when it is being flown,” he said.