By Brandi Makuski
Community members and area veterans came together on Sunday to mark not only Flag Day, but to dispose of hundreds of flags in a formal retirement ceremony.
Worn flags previously delivered to the flag depository in the Village of Plover were carefully placed in one of three ceremonial fires along the shoreline of Lake Pacawa Park. The flags were distributed by the Daughters of the American Revolution and handled by dozens of local Boy and Girl Scouts, who also tended the fires.
“I guess as any veteran would feel, we respect the flag and we certainly want to retire flags in the best way possible,” said Norb Strasser, a member of the VFW and veteran of both Vietnam and Gulf wars.
Strosser said the VFW, along with the local Daughters of the American Revolution, began planning the event in early spring.
“I think the Daughters of the American Revolution deserve a lot of the credit, but so do the all the scouts who participated in this. I think it’s the first time some of them have ever been involved in something like this,” Strasser said.
Boys Scout troops 205, 293 and 297, along with Cub Scout packs 205 and 295 and Girl Scout Troop 6150 all participated in the retirement ceremony.
“The scouts obviously learned a lot from this experience,” said Jason Splinter, pack master for Pack 205. “It’s good to see such a nice turnout today.”
Event organizers said they believe the village has “thousands” of flags in need of retiring, but due to time constraints, only a few hundred were retired on Sunday.
The downtown Elks Lodge also held its annual Flag Day ceremony Sunday afternoon. The lodge’s Exalted Ruler, Jason Biggs, gave a history of the American flag before a packed house at the group’s clubhouse, 1132 Clark St., which was open to the public for the event.
Mayor Mike Wiza, Portage Co. Executive Patty Dreier and Portage Co. Veterans Services Officer Mike Clements also spoke at the event.