AMERICAN FORK — Conner Paulson loves to watch Old Glory fly.
"It's something special to me, it's a symbol of our country, our freedom and the sacrifices those who have gone before us have made," he said.
But he hates seeing U.S. flags fly when they are torn, tattered or faded.
"My dad is in the Army Reserve, and so my family has always felt it is important to respect and honor the flag."
Paulson decided that for his Eagle Scout project, he would organize a large scale community flag retirement ceremony.
The idea came to him as he would see worn out flags flying, especially on holidays.
"A lot of Scouts put out flags in their neighborhood on national holidays, and I saw some of these flags that were tattered, and not properly showing respect to our country."
Paulson and Scouts in his troop collected 80 flags of all sizes Saturday. He received flags that had been flying on flagpoles, stored in garages and attics, or just sitting around the house.
Henry Dowse, a Navy veteran who served in Vietnam, brought a flag to be retired.
"It has started to get faded, and it has been through a few windstorms, and it is tattered on the end," Dowse said. "And so it needs to be retired in the proper manner." Dowse added he appreciated the service the Scout troop is providing, so his flag could be retired.
Paulson said others have expressed appreciation. "They have had the flags around for months or years not knowing what to do with them."
The United States Flag Code sets guidelines for disposing of worn or soiled flags: "The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning."
Paulson is planning a flag retirement ceremony and will coordinate with the American Fork Fire Department to supervise the ceremony as he respectfully burns the flags.
It's an experience Paulson says will be a solemn event, something he has seen during Scout camp.
"I think it is important we show respect to our country and to our flag."
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