Boy Scouts gathered hundreds of soiled American flags from the lawn outside the Dr. Phillips Center in Orlando, Fla., concluding a memorial service that paid tribute to the 49 victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting.
Scouts collected mini-flagpoles lodged in the dirt, surrounded by wet gifts and melted candles left to honor the victims.
The Scouts’ flag collection project was completed in collaboration with officials from the Orange County Regional History Center and the American Legion.
According to Chris Crowley, director of field service for the Central Florida Council, the flags were deemed unserviceable for various reasons, including touching the ground, and will be respectfully retired through the American Legion.
Crowley says Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs’ office reached out to the Scouts for help and the boys were happy to be of service.
“I would say one of things I feel is proud, very proud,” said Crowley to the Orlando Sentinel.
“It’s a real great honor as a Scout to protect these flags,” explained Eagle Scout Michelangelo D. “It’s really sad. We’re here to support.”
The Eagle’s mother said the memorial was so emotional that tears welled in her eyes when her son led the Pledge of Allegiance before the group. Concluding the Pledge, three Scouts put on white gloves and properly folded a flag that had been laid on the grass.
For the complete story on how these Scouts are servicing their Orlando community, please visit the Orlando Sentinel.