Scouts-L Mail Archive for February of 1999: Re: Troop Flag presentations
Re: Troop Flag presentations
Sat, 6 Feb 1999 03:00:15 -0600
John Blanchard asked:
>I have been asked to present a troop flag to the new troop at a
>B&G in which our troop will get no new scouts at the crossover (
>the Webeloes leader in this pack is the new SM and after many
>years of visting our troop noone came this year)
>The Cubmaster would like me to present the troop with its troop
>flag which I will gladly and happily do for the greater good of
A nice gesture, John, but *you* should not be presenting the flag
to the new unit; *in my mind* this is a job for the Unit's
Commissioner or Executive, with emphasis on the volunteer.
Where are you getting the flag from? You realize that the BSA's
flags come presewn with the unit numbers and all; you can't just
order a "plain Troop flag."
>Question: Does anyone have a ceremony or words to say in
>presenting a troop with its flag or am I on my one?
Basically, you're on you own.....
I've got a sample new unit ceremony which includes the presentation
of the Troop Flag (it was used as the new unit ceremony for the
Troop in which I became Eagle and later Scoutmaster of). Let me
find it this afternoon and post it using the OLD software (people
have been complaining that my postings, already long
enough...*smiling*....were not being "wrapped" as I typed them.
Made it really hard for them to read it!! Suffice it to say, the
newmail program works but not well enough!)
>Question: Does anyone know why we have troop flags?
Yep. Here's what I wrote back in 1991 when someone else asked me
this same question:
Glad to answer this for you, Dale. I've looked in all of the BSA's
materials I've got around here this morning but other than flag
ceremonies, nothing on why we have one. However, based on my own
experiences around flags, here's why I feel the BSA felt it
important that every unit have a unit flag and what good it serves:
First, the flag serves as a rally point for the unit, in a similar
line as the patrol and den flags serves as points for those
elements. Going back to world history, Dale, units rallied around
flags and defended it with their lives as it "moved forward."
Scouting evolved from the mind of a military officer, and part of
the military lifestyle are flags representing organizations and
units and elements of those units.
When the Rose Terrace military community wanted a community flag, I
was told that "Fort Knox has a flag: the gold and green of the flag
of Armor (Fort Knox is the Home of Armor); no other flag is
needed." However, I was successful in convincing the official in
this way: A Division has a flag, and those units under that
Division has flags identifying what kind of unit it is and what
they do to support the Division. Battalions, the "building blocks"
of any kind of military organization, has a distictive flag and
their subordinates, called Companies, Detachments and Sections have
flags as well. So a Installation -- Fort Knox -- can have a flag
and it's subinstallations -- Rose Terrace, Dietz Acres and Van
Voorhis -- should likewise have flags too.
We got our flag, Dale; a nice set of five roses in different
colors, with a diagonal terrace and the wording "Rose Terrace
Military Community" at the bottom. The five roses, in the colors
of the Armor School and Center patch (one gold, two red, two blue)
relate to the five housing areas which make up Rose Terrace and the
two schools (Stevens and Crittenberger) and two churches (Godman
and Prichard Place Chapels) which are part of the community. It
was designed by a school child whom thought that Rose Terrace was
named after roses and not a decorated soldier and holder of the
Distinguished Service Cross.
In a similar vein, that's why we in the BSA have individual flags:
to ID the "parts of the whole" which make up our Councils and their
Districts. The flags are distinctive, so that at a glance, we can
tell a Cub Scout Pack from a Boy Scout Troop from an Explorer Post
or Ship. The flags have standarized information so that we know
the top part of ANY BSA Flag identifies the unit or organization
and the bottom part of ANY BSA Flag identifies the location of the
But WHY? Why can't we just make a sign and use that??
*Flags "mark the spot" of the leader of the organization,
traditionally. Wherever the organizational flag was, that's where
that leader, commander, or in our case, Senior Patrol Leader,
*Flags "identify similar-looking organizations" just like shoulder
patches and numbers given closer "clues" as to which Pack, Troop,
or Post we're talking about.
*Flags "are the base of authority" for that organization, since all
BSA flags are procured through the BSA's Supply Division and must
conform to BSA rules about what goes on them and where. Likewise,
when we have new Scoutmasters or youth leaders, we have them to
hold onto the flag as a symbol of the authority of that flag
through the BSA.
*Finally, Flags are "the representation of the history" of that
organization. Every streamer, every patch, every star attached to
that flag tells of the history of the unit and its membership over
the years. When a unit folds, the flag is rolled up and stored
until the unit has been reorganized; then, the flag is given to the
new unit leaders as a continuation of that unit's history. When
the flag is gone, stolen or destroyed, a significant part of that
unit's history and participation in Scouting is also gone.
Hope all of this helps out, Dale....Like I stated, the BSA doesn't
explain WHY we have flags, but rather makes them available to us to
use. If we choose to use them, then we have an obligation to make
sure that the flag is flown right, that the appropriate information
is on the flag and that youth members give it the respect that such
a part of the unit's history deserves.
Oh yeah...when a unit's flag touches the ground, it's NOT
destroyed. Just washed.
John, I would get your Unit's Commissioner to do the actual flag
presentation; that's part of his or her job, I feel. But I'll
still find the ceremony and post it here later on!
(c) 1999 Mike Walton ("no such thing as strong coffee,...") firstname.lastname@example.org
http://www.mninter.net/~blkeagle Burnsville, MN 55306-7130 (612) 435-3068
privately at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
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