If you don’t know William Short, 17, you have probably seen him. He likes to run, and is known for his eight- to ten-mile training jaunts in and around Warsaw that have prepared him for high school track competition. He likes to go long distance, and in the coming weeks he will complete another sort of trek.
In mid-June, he will complete the requirements to become an Eagle Scout, the highest honor bestowed by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).
His Eagle project, will be to collect and retire United States flags.
The Eagle Scout honor has been about five years in the making and involved no less than 21 merit badges where he learned about such things as environmental science, first aid, wild animals, wilderness survival, and, of course, flags.
Being a Scout has been a rewarding and enjoyable experience that has helped him shape his values and ethics, he said. He hopes that his final project as a Scout will remind people of what this country’s flag represents.
He is looking for flags that need to be retired. We’ve all seen them, faded, tattered, wind-whipped pieces of cloth ready to be relieved of their duty.
Have you got one?
Get it to William in the next two or three weeks and it will be retired in an solemn ceremony on Memorial Day weekend. During the ceremony Scouts present each flag and play taps before passing it along to adults who will offer it to a bonfire.
“This gives people an opportunity to see their flags formally retired and have pride in their country,” said William, a senior at Rappahannock High School.
He has built a couple of collected boxes and has several flags already. He plans to have more boxes in place soon at easily accessible public locations, such as restaurants, churches and fire stations. He has already made arrangements to have a box at his church, the Tappahannock Memorial United Methodist Church.
He will also accept state flags. And the burning is for cloth flags only. Nylon flags will be properly recycled, he said.
William has enjoyed working on the flag retirement project, he said, because it allows him to help others in the greater community.
William, who is a member of BSA Troop 304 in Tappahannock, got interested in the flag retirement ceremony not long after he joined the Scouts. He saw his first ceremony on a Scouting trip and went on to learn the history of the flag and its meaning. “It is symbol of our country, and a lot of people died for what it represents,” he said. That is why it should be retired properly.
William is the son of Steve and Cathy Short of Warsaw.
For more information call (804) 333-5006 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.