Scouts, veterans in Medina retire hundreds of flags

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Boy Scouts gather around a pile of used flags as they wait for the fire to be lit for the flag retirement ceremony Monday morning at Medina Conservation Club. Flag burning is a longtime tradition of the American Legion, VFW and Scouts.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 16 June 2020 at 9:18 am

MEDINA – A group of Boy Scouts and their leaders joined members of the American Legion and VFW posts in Medina to participate in a flag retirement ceremony Monday morning at the Conservation Club on Bates Road.

Veteran Dave Kusmierczak read a history of meaning behind the stars and stripes, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

Scouts then placed worn flags on a pole and put them in the fire.

Scoutmaster Tim Miller helps hold an American flag while Scouts Tyler Miller, left, and David Vanderwalker cut apart stripes to be placed in the fire.

Kusmierczak explained when a flag is no longer fitting to be displayed, it must be disposed of in a dignified manner. The most common and preferred way to dispose of an American flag is by burning.

Scouts Tyler Miller of Medina and David Vanderwalker of Middleport cut apart a white stripe, a red stripe and the field of stars, placing them individually in the fire.

Dave Kusmierczak (in back), a member of the American Legion and VFW, reads the meaning behind the stars and stripes of the American flag prior to Monday morning’s flag retirement at Medina Conservation Club.

Kusmierczak said the ceremonial flag burning has been a tradition for years and years. He said they often have several flag burnings a year, in addition to Veterans’ Day in November and Flag Day in June, but because of the Covid-19 pandemic, they haven’t had one since November. Likewise, the Boy Scouts haven’t had one either.

Retired flags are collected at a number of locations throughout the area, including Medina Savings and Loan, Key Bank, Ace Hardware, the Veterans Administration Office in Albion, as well as the VFW and American Legion.

The American Legion in Albion also retired about 1,500 flags on Sunday.

Austin Beutler of Medina places a flag in the fire, during the ceremonial ceremony at Medina Conservation Club. The Scouts traditionally hold a similar ceremony on Flag Day at their camp on School No. 10 Road, but canceled it this year because of the pandemic.

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