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News for Today—June 29, 2007

An interesting mix of stories today, starting with two Scout articles, followed by a military article, and finishing with a city government story.

Scouting teaches respect and more for the American flag, and these two boys are living proof. A short phrase in the article, “for the past three years” is the best part for me. This wasn’t something the Scouts took on short-term, but seriously took as their mission. Great lesson in Scouting!

Patriotic scouts fold their last flag at Palisades Elementary
scouts-care-for-flags.jpgIn his first year of cub scouting, Michael Easley learned what the colors and symbols on the American flag meant and how to respectfully fold it.

He passed the lesson on to his best friend, Tom Viggiano. Soon, it turned into something they both took to heart.

When they learned there was no routine in bringing in the flags each day at Palisades Elementary School, they asked former Principal Liz Wassom if they could do it.

“Its not just about taking down the flag,” Easley explained. “It’s respecting all of the people who had died for our country and everyone who lives in the United States.”

Scouting can have its fun side too. After carrying the U.S. Flag for the parade, several Scouts scurried back down the parade route to collect candy thrown during the celebration.
scouts-on-parade.jpg“It’s the first time I’ve ever been in a parade,” said Ryan Owens, 10, of Clive. “We were the ones who got to carry the American flag and the Boy Scouts flag.”

Ryan said he ran back to the middle of the parade with Nick Behrends, 10, so they could get candy, which was thrown in abundance.

“I don’t have a bag to hold the candy, but I got lots of pockets,” said Ryan, as the seams on his uniform strained from too much candy in his pockets. “We took a shortcut from the pool so we could get lots of candy.”

American flags are expected on military bases, but huge 30′ X 42′ flags are a rarity. If you are in the Fort Monroe area in a few weeks, this should be a great time. Stop by, then send us a report.

Fort Monroe to hoist huge flag
dailypress-huge-flag.jpgFORT MONROE — Fort Monroe has planned a July 9 dedication ceremony for 30×42-foot American flag that will be raised atop a 90-foot pole.

The ceremony will be open to the public with no admission charge. Identification and vehicle registration will be required to enter the military post, and a free shuttle will run from the parking area to the ceremony site. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets.

The flag will be raised across the channel at Fort Wool.

Good intentions with poor implementation sometimes results in a favorable action. What started as a clandestine operation is now an official city operation, with American flags lining Congers Road. It does add a certain something to the drive.

The story started a few weeks ago with this article on the city removing the flags because no one claimed them. The original city story said the flags violated a city sign ordinance, but now the city says they were removed for safety reasons. No matter, the U.S. flags are flying high in Clarkstown again, and at city expense.

Permanent display solves safety issue of Clarkstown flags
us-flags-line-road.jpgDiane Orativia noticed something different this week as she drove along Congers Road.

“Oh, I thought it was wonderful,” she said. “They’re beautiful.”

As more and more residents have been noticing the flags along the Lake DeForest causeway, they have been reacting to town officials’ decision to put them up.

“It was a very good idea,” Orativia said. “It stands for our country, and it’s a salute to our servicemen.”

Clarkstown officials put the new flags on display in response to an outcry from local residents when officials removed dozens of flags that were hung by a local resident.

Residents said town officials were being unpatriotic, but officials said the flags were removed for safety reasons and to avoid disrespect to the flag.

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The Scout Law is a good rule for business

Yesterday, Deborah and I discussed the Scout Law, which required a quick refresher course. I could remember many, but not all of the laws, and I had some out of order.

Here’s a reminder:Scout Emblem
A Scout is

  • Trustworthy
  • Loyal
  • Helpful
  • Friendly
  • Courteous
  • Kind
  • Obedient
  • Cheerful
  • Thrifty
  • Brave
  • Clean
  • Reverent

We make a mistake, thinking the Scout Law applies only to Boy Scouts. Imagine if we applied the Scout Law to business. Think about Enron and MCI. If the people running these corporations had lived by the Scout Law (or Business Law), today they would be famous for something entirely different.

Just a thought.

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Flag lowered in ceremony at Ford’s presidential museum

In the 80s, I volunteered with a Boy Scout Troop. My son was the right age to join Scouting, and it provided a great opportunity to spend time doing fun things together.

Soon I was recruited to be Assistant Scoutmaster, and eventually Scoutmaster of Troop 404 in Pampa, Texas. We went camping and hiking in the mountains, and did the fun stuff Scouts do. In that time I noticed several things I’d like to share.

Flag lowered in ceremony at Ford’s presidential museum

A small crowd watched at dusk yesterday as the American flag was slowly lowered and removed from the flagpole outside the museum — then carefully folded by eleven area Boy Scouts.

It will become part of the museum’s permanent collection.

The flag had flown at half-staff since Ford’s death on December 26th. A new flag has been raised in its place.

Ford is the only president ever to have attained the rank of Eagle Scout.

The region’s Boy Scout Council bears his name.

Ford’s presidential library is in Ann Arbor.

Not-so-Secrets of Scouting

My first observation is the importance of parental involvement with the program. The boys with active parents are the most likely to excel in the challenges of Scouting.

The second observation is the importance of role models. By the time my son got involved in Scouting, Gerald Ford had served his term as President but he became the role model for many of the boys. Former President Ford was always proud of his affiliation with Scouting, and never missed an opportunity to promote the program.

Only two percent (2%) of boys entering the program achieve the rank of Eagle. 2%! Eagle Scouts form an elite group, and the rank is for a lifetime.

As boys got closer to gaining Eagle status, Gerald Ford would become a topic of discussion around our meeting, showing how the skills learned in Scouting could propel an individual into the highest office in our country. Our troop was above average during the time I spent with Troop 404. We had a much higher than 2% Eagle attainment, all owed to the active parents.

The boys that made Eagle, were the boys with active parents (there is no other way to say it). They attended and helped with meetings or served on our troop board. They made a priority of attending camp trips, helping teach subjects like First Aid and Pioneering, and other vital life lessons.

I was saddened to hear the news about former President Ford, but extremely proud of his continued status of Eagle Scout. May he ever be …

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Flag Honoring President Ford Retired

I really liked this very short announcement in this Michigan paper. It briefly tells of the flag retirement ceremony, conducted by area Scouts, for the flag flying outside the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. This ceremony concludes the period of mourning for former President Ford.

Heart warming …

Grand Haven Tribune – Michigan Newspapers News for West Michigan, Grand Haven, Spring Lake, Holland, Ferrysburg

In a sunset ceremony (approximately 5:30 pm) Thursday, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum will retire the flag, which has flown since President Ford’s death was announced.

Area Boy Scouts will honor the flag with a ritual raising then lowering.

Flags will return to full staff at sunrise Friday, January 26, 2007

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YMCA Raises US Flag Again

[photopress:scout_emblem.jpg,thumb,right]News articles about Scouts always get my attention and this story from Ocean Springs, Mississippi is no different. Having served first as an Asst. Scout Master, then Scout Master for Troop 404 in Pampa, Texas, I still hold Scouting in high regard and am proud that my son is an Eagle Scout.

With their flag pole repaired, and with Cub and Boy Scouts present, the United States flag is once more flying over the Ocean Springs, Mississippi YMCA. The flag pole damage is the result of the direct hit of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

That’s great news for the recovery efforts that are still ongoing. Keep up the good work boys and what a great way to earn the Citizenship Merit badge. It make me feel good inside.

The Sun Herald | 01/06/2007 | YMCA raises its flag again

OCEAN SPRINGS – The Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts of Pack 220 on Friday raised the American flag at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Blossman YMCA for the first time since Katrina.

The YMCA flagpole was damaged during the storm and could not be used. As the flag was being raised for the first time in more than a year, the ceremony represented more of a celebration of survival for those who attended.

The YMCA’s chief executive officer, David Harris, credits his staff and concerned citizens for the successful repairs to the hurricane-damaged pole. Members of the Cub Scout Webelos and Boy Scouts participated in the flag-raising ceremony to earn their citizenship badges.