Boy Scout Troop 77 gathered Thursday evening to solemnly celebrate the armed forces and its country in a ceremony that is quickly becoming a popular tradition here.
Piper Bob Shannon playing the Marine's Hymn led the troop to the ceremony where dozens of residents listened to a number of speeches, most from boy scouts.
The troop's annual Flag Retirement Ceremony, held beside Wyckoff Volunteer Fire Department Company No. 1, is originally the idea of George Ryan Ahlmeyer.
Ahlmeyer is a Wyckoff resident who completed the project in April 2005 as part of his Eagle Scout project.
Ahlmeyer is currently attending Ithaca College.
For his project, he converted an old U.S. Postal mailbox at on Godwin Avenue into a flag drop for the citizens of Wyckoff to deposit their worn U.S. flags.
The troop received approximately 3,000 flags for retirement ceremony this year according to Scout Master Rob Andrews.
While many may not know the proper way to dispose of an old flag, the U.S. Flag Code states that when a flag is in such a condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display it should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.
The scouts from Troop 77 prepare the flags for burning by separating each star field and stripe.
The flag retirement ceremony included a procession to traditional bag pipe music, presentation of colors, the Pledge of Allegiance, Scout Oath and the National Anthem.
Scouts recite stories and pay tribute to the flag before the separated pieces of the flag are placed into the fire.
The ceremony concluded with the scouts folding a large flag that was displayed behind the podium as all sing God Bless America.
Troop 77, part of the Ramapo Valley District in the Northern New Jersey Council, is sponsored by . Rob Andrews is the troop’s Scout Master.
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