Boy Scouts celebrate Flag Day with service project

Boy Scouts from Illini Lodge 55 of the Order of the Arrow collect used flags at the Champaign Fire Department on Randolph Street on Saturday. The Scouts, in honor of Flag Day, held a community drive to collect used and worn out American flags, as well as Wes Anderson

Boy Scouts from Illini Lodge 55 of the Order of the Arrow collect used flags at the Champaign Fire Department on Randolph Street on Saturday. The Scouts, in honor of Flag Day, held a community drive to collect used and worn out American flags, as well as Wes Anderson

By Kate Szyszka

The members of the Order of the Arrow, Illini Lodge No. 55 Boy Scouts of America spent their Saturday collecting worn American flags outside of area fire stations. This project was done to complete the Order of the Arrow’s day of service requirement, an annual day when scouts must complete a service project. In addition to the Boy Scouts, members of the local Marine Corps league were present to support the scouts.

“It is encouraging to see scouts getting involved and learning about flags,” said Ray Elliott of the Illini Marine Corps.

The Boy Scouts chose to participate in this particular project because it was Flag Day, said Assistant Scoutmaster for troop 314 Bruce Rives.

“We get basic flag training as part of our early Boy Scout training,” said 14-year-old Chris Mathy, of troop 121.

The Boy Scouts also handed out fliers explaining the proper way to dispose of a worn-out flag to people when they dropped off their flags.

After collecting the flags, the Boy Scouts will burn them in a bonfire and remove the grommets from the ashes, then give the grommets to the American Legion to dispose of properly, said Rives.

The holiday means more than many Americans may recognize, said Jim Hipskind of the Marine Corps.

“It is important for American citizens to celebrate Flag Day, it is just as important now as it was 200 years ago,” Hipskind said. “Just because someone doesn’t agree with what’s going on now, it doesn’t mean the flag is any less important.”