Skip to main content

MOUNT ZION — Members of Mount Zion Scout Troop 43 unrolled about 200 American flags for their final unveiling.

Patriotic symbols served their country. Now was the time to rest in peace.

Community members joined Scouts and their families for the annual meeting Flag removal ceremony tuesday, National Flag Day, at the Mount Zion Lions Club Park Foundation Pavilion. Two small controlled fires accepted each flag for their departure.






Scoutmaster Kevin Johnson, center, holds the flag before it is taken down on Tuesday.


CLAY JACKSON, HERALD & REVIEW


“This event is very important because we want to honor the symbol of our freedom and freedom,” said Troop Leader Kevin Johnson. “We also want to be sure that we treat him as respectfully as possible.”

  • St. Teresa teacher wakes from coma after car crash
  • Angry Decatur husband pulls gun in front of car full of kids, police report
  • Maroa officer injured in street struggle with fugitive, report says
  • Decatur prison worker convicted of engaging in sex acts with inmates
  • Downtown hotel, entertainment center part of Decatur Civic Center upgrade discussion
  • Decatur driver caught with drugs and cellphones, police say
  • Weekend of gun violence leaves 2 injured in Decatur, police report
  • Drug bust in Decatur leads to seizure of methamphetamine with street value of $111,000, police report says
  • Decatur dice game ends in robbery and gunfire, prosecutors say
  • One injured, three detained after Sullivan shooting
  • Decatur man denies charges of assaulting woman and resisting cops outside library
  • Want to know who’s in the Macon County Jail? Get the app
  • Decatur woman caught in man’s garage inflicts painful bite, police report
  • Caterpillar to move headquarters to Texas
  • Decatur Police: Robbery suspect demanded a cigarette at knifepoint

Many flags were tattered and worn, faded or discolored. Some were small and could have been easily waved by a child, while others were large enough to hover over a building. Others were known to have been draped over a veteran’s coffin.







Flag Retreat 3 061422.JPG

The proper disposal of worn and tattered American flags is codified in federal law, Troop Leader Kevin Johnson said.


CLAY JACKSON, HERALD & REVIEW


Boy Scout Carson Watts, 14, has attended previous ceremonies. “I feel a very deep sense of pride to be able to do this and everyone here is able to contribute,” he said. “And I’m very grateful to the veterans and the people who served us.”







Flag Retreat 5 061422.JPG

One of more than 200 flags removed on Tuesday is placed over a fire during a ceremony at Mount Zion.


CLAY JACKSON, HERALD & REVIEW


According to Johnson, the official flag removal ceremony is described by the American Legion. “This flag removal ceremony is codified in US federal law,” he said. “We want to do everything we can to make sure we respect that and do it right.”







Flag Retreat 4 061422.JPG

The proper disposal of worn and tattered American flags is codified in federal law, Troop Leader Kevin Johnson said.


CLAY JACKSON, HERALD & REVIEW


During the pandemic, the ceremony was held virtually with community members watching online. “We did the ceremony on Facebook Live,” Carson said.

Tuesday’s ceremony began with the presentation of the color guard. The audience joined in the chanting of the “Stars and Stripes” and the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. The poems “I am your flag” and “It is the soldier” were read by local scouts.







Flag retreat 1 061422.JPG

The Boy Scouts salute the flag Tuesday during a flag removal ceremony at the Mount Zion Lions Club Park Foundation Pavilion. The annual event, which takes place on Flag Day, properly disposes of worn American flags. The ceremony included patriotic songs and readings.


CLAY JACKSON, HERALD & REVIEW


As the final flag was taken to the fire, “Taps” was played by 13-year-old scout Henry Blunt. “I only played there once,” he said.

The removed flags were picked up through drop off locations including Kenney’s Ace Hardware in Decatur, the Village Barbershop in Mount Zion, and VFW Post 99 in Decatur.

Watch now: Pride, grief for Decatur men who chased suspect in flag theft

The natural material flags were each unfolded by the scouts and their leaders, then placed above the open fires. Synthetic flags are eliminated using another technique, according to Johnson.

“Once the flags have passed through the ceremony, they are officially no longer flags,” he said. “But we have a controlled place where they will be burned. The fumes given off by synthetic flags tend to be toxic.

After the ceremony, Boy Scouts presented family members of the late Terry Bobbit and Malcolm Himes with 48-star American flags and other gifts. Bobbit was a member of the Dalton City American Legion. Himes was a longtime leader of Troop 43. The men were also military veterans.

“They were both instrumental in starting the first-ever flag-retiring ceremony here at Mount Zion at 43 Troop,” Johnson said. “Unfortunately, within the past year, they have both passed away.”







Flag Retreat 2 061422.JPG

Scoutmaster Kevin Johnson, center, holds the flag before it is retired Tuesday during the annual Flag Day Retirement Ceremony at the Mount Zion Lions Club Park Foundation Pavilion.


CLAY JACKSON, HERALD & REVIEW


According to the scouts, meeting for the ceremony was important to them as well as the result of the flags. “If it wasn’t for us, I believe these flags would sit and gather dust,” Carson said. “And it’s a great way to honor our country.”

“It’s also respectful to veterans who have served our country before,” Henry said.

Contact Donnette Beckett at (217) 421-6983. Follow her on Twitter: @donnettebHR