Verdigris, OK. -- A Verdigris teen creates a unique way to respectfully dispose of old American flags.
There’s now a flag drop box at the Verdigris Fire Protection District thanks to a Verdigris boy scout.
Fire Chief Mike Shaffer said, “Even when a flag has served its jury duty on top your flagpole, there’s a very respectful manner in which they can take care of it for you."
Eagle Scout Brayden Taylor knows the value of the American flag, unlike some others. Taylor said, “They just see it as something they salute to but doesn’t have a meaning to them.”
Korbin Wampler, a fellow scout, explained, "It symbolizes the people who fought for our country, the veterans that are here and not here with us currently or not at all."
That’s why it’s important to honor the flag even if it’s a little beaten up. 16-year-old Wampler said that's when a light bulb went off in his head during a flag retirement ceremony last Veterans Day.
For his Eagle Scout project, Wampler got his grandfather’s help building a drop box for old flags, similar to a mailbox. He got all the materials and wrapping donated and installed it in front of the Verdigris Fire Protection District station.
Chief Shaffer said, “Just your normal, everyday people don’t know what to do with their flags. They’re not sure how they’re supposed to be retired. People who don’t know any better may end up throwing them away.”
But the scouts know exactly what to do with the flag through a proper burning ceremony and know how others can get on board.
Wampler said, “They can just drop it off in the box and by the end of the month or the end of the week, one of us can come down here and check the box and pick it up ourselves and just have it in storage for when we retire our flags next time.”
Bolted to the ground, the 16-year-old hopes the flag drop box will be in use for generations to come.
He said, “It’s passed down and passed down and passed down so that this becomes a staple or a tradition for our troop to come here pick up the flags and retire them all on Veterans Day or a camp out.”
With dozens of flags already donated, the new tradition is off to a successful start.
Shaffer said, “I think it’s very, very powerful to see them understanding concepts that a lot of times people don’t get until their adults - why we should respect our flag or why we should really invest our time and effort into our community.”
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