Eagle Scout Presents Town Council with Finished Flag Retirement Fire Pit

Eagle Scout Presents Town Council with Finished Flag Retirement Fire Pit

CLARKSVILLE, IN (May 18, 2022) – It was just a few months ago that the Town of Clarksville agreed to charter Boy Scout Troop 4010, and that partnership is already paying dividends.  During Tuesday night’s Town Council meeting, Eagle Scout Jeffrey Braden presented the Council with a framed document highlighting the timeline of his recently completed Eagle Scout project.

Braden was trying to find the right project when Clarksville Fire Chief Brandon Skaggs suggested building a flag retirement burn pit on the Town Government campus.  There is already a drop off bin inside the Clarksville Police Department for worn flags, but there was no set location to retire those flags on site.  That will soon change thanks to Jeffrey Braden.

Located just a few yards from the Veterans Place Memorial on campus, is a new burn pit constructed by  Braden and about 40 other volunteers.  The burn pit sits on a pentagon shaped concrete pad, which symbolizes the Pentagon administrative building in Arlington, Virginia.  Each corner of the pentagon also represents the five different branches of the U.S. Military.

Although the burn pit is read to be put into use, it will have to wait until later this month.  The burn pit will officially be dedicated at the Town’s Memorial Day event on Sunday, May 29th at 2:00pm.  Representatives from Boy Scout Troop 4010 will be on hand to retire flags collected by the Town of Clarksville.

During Tuesday night’s council meeting, Jeffrey Braden was given a standing ovation by the Town Council and the crowd in attendance for his hard work on the project.  Council President Ryan Ramsey accepted the framed document from Braden on behalf of the council.  Here is what the document says:

Flag Retirement Fire Pit
Eagle Scout Project of Jeffrey David Braden, BSA Troop 4010

Dedicated: Memorial Day, 2022 to all who valiantly served under our nation’s flag.
Flag retirement ceremonies have long been a tradition for Clarksville’s BSA Troop 4010.  According to U.S. Flag Code, a 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.”  Taking this step to heart, former Operation Desert Storm Veteran and former Troop 4010 Scoutmaster, Frank Cahill, has reverently led Troop 4010 and others in the community in formal flag retirement ceremonies for several years.  Despite having a dedicated flag collection box, missing for the city of Clarksville was a more formal, permanent site to hold such reverent events.  To Jeffrey Braden, adding a formal firepit into the design of the Veteran’s Memorial in the heart of the Clarksville community, made perfect sense.  He led his troop and a total of approximately forty volunteers in the building of this circular firepit centered in a pentagram star that is contained within a pentagon design.

Symbolism of the Design:

Pentagon shape – Symbolically represents our military headquarters in Arlington, VA.  During an official flag retirement ceremony, a flag of each military branch will be brought out and displayed at each of the five points. The points of this pentagon also display permanent stones representing the five U.S. military branches: Navy, Marine, Coast Guard, Army and Air Force.

The Pentagon Direction -A compass needle points to Magnetic North. The Scout badge was originally adapted from the North point of the compass, signifying that a Scout was able to point the way as truly as the needle of a compass. Scouting aims and principles are the scouter’s map. The point of the pentagon representing the Air Force points to North.  The U.S. Air Force has a collection of five initiatives to improve resilience and well-being in airmen and their families called “Task Force True North”.

Center star (also referred to as a “Pentagram”) -Represents the stars in our U.S. flag. Pythagoras is a well-known Greek philosopher from c. 500 BC who used the 5-pointed star (pentagram) as a symbol which was later used to symbolize humankind. The five points represent earth, wind, fire, water, and spirit.

Circular Firepit – The circular shape honors Betsy Ross’s original U.S. flag design, displaying 13 stars in a circle, each star representing one of the original 13 colonies. The flag became our country’s symbol of the American Revolution.  The firepit is built with 56 stones, representing the 56 delegates of the Continental Congress that signed The Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

Flag Ashes and Grommets – After the flag retirement ceremony, the ashes and grommets are gathered and made available for distribution to those who want to have them as a keepsake.

Special thanks to:

Clarksville Town Council for approving and supporting this project.
Frank Cahill for his inspiration to all scouts, especially in his devotion to leading these flag retirement ceremonies.
Chief Brandon Skaggs for pointing me “True North” with this project idea.
Troop 4010 scouts and adults (specifically Joe Howlett & Sean Weigel) who brought their expertise and sheer dedication to bringing this project to completion.
Scoutmaster Garry Nokes for being my mentor and awesome leader throughout my BSA career.