Ryan Foote, a 17-year-old high schooler, held a ceremony to dispose of old flags July 20 on Clay North. The flags, which had been in storage for a long time, were the centerpiece of his Eagle Scout project.
As a member of Junior ROTC, the project was suggested to him by his sergeant major, and Ryan accepted.
“My dad is in the military, so I have grown up to love my country,” he said, and respect to the American flag means respect for the country.
Foote, who entered the Cub Scouts when he was 7 years old, had 56 flags in total that came from the community and the high school. He also received five burial flags for World War II veterans.
Flags have to be disposed of in a respectful manner.
“You have to build a fire to dispose of them properly. You cut them in a certain way, and you have to burn them in a ceremony,” Foote said.
First, the part with the stars is cut from the stripes, and then the striped portions are cut into smaller pieces. In the ceremony, the stars are burnt first, and then the stripes are placed into the fire. It is also acceptable to burn the flags in their entirety when folded properly.
“I am grateful for Boy Scouts like Ryan who are great examples of patriotism in our community,” said U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Commander Col. Noah C. Cloud, who also attended the ceremony. “It was an honor to host Ryan’s flag disposal ceremony on Clay Kaserne.”
Cloud is an Eagle Scout, as well. However, his project had an entirely different focus. He built and painted book shelves for a school. Eagle Scout projects are about leadership, Cloud said. The future Eagle Scout is in charge of a project, and guides others to accomplish a goal that has a value for the community.
Various Boy Scouts supported Foote’s project, helped him cut up the flags and served as color guards. Foote organized everything, prepared the color guard and led the ceremony.
Foote, who will accompany his father to Fort Bragg soon, has just one step left to become an Eagle Scout. He has to send the documentation of his project to the National Headquarters of the Boy Scouts of America in Texas.