Boy Scouts honor 9/11 with flag retirement ceremony

Posted at 5:10 PM, Sep 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-12 20:02:30-04

GREAT FALLS – The Order of the Arrow Boy Scouts of America held a flag burning ceremony on Tuesday evening in remembrance of 9/11 in Great Falls.

The nine scouts presented and retrieved the day flag, and then presented and retrieved a flag to be retired before it was burned.

“It’s a ceremony that not a lot of people get to see or witness,” Chapter Chief Sean Lynch said. “It’s important because it’s very respectful to do.”

For his Eagle Scout project, Lynch built a box at Veteran’s Memorial Park for people to leave flags that need to be retired. The Boy Scout Office in Great Falls at 820 17th Avenue South also accepts unserviceable flags.

Over the past few weeks, he and his fellow scouts have respectfully retired around 200 flags.

“It’s important for people to see it as something more than just a piece of fabric,” Lynch said. “For people to see it as a symbol of America and that it needs to be dealt with properly.”

The grommets from the flags were collected after they were burned and given to veterans, active military members, and first responders in the audience.

Lynch said the Order of the Arrow was approached by Malmstrom Air Force Base to somehow commemorate 9/11. He said they couldn’t think of a better date to hold a flag retirement ceremony than on a day of mourning for many people.

Almost every Scout that participated in the ceremony was born after September 11, 2001.

“It’s a ceremony, but you’re not celebrating,” Tom Lynch, Sean’s father, said. “It’s more of a solemn farewell.”

The Order of the Arrow plans to hold more public flag retiring ceremonies. You can visit their Facebook page for dates and more information.

Reporting by Natalie McAlpine for MTN News