Melissa Boy Scout Troop 413 welcomed the freezing temperatures as they ventured out to Robbers Cave Oklahoma State Park for a camp-out over the Jan. 16 weekend. While the mercury dropped past 19 degrees the Scouts enjoyed hiking and exploring the park and visiting Robber’s Cave. Winter camping is a challenge, and add in the fact that this troop cooks all meals on an open fire it was an experience to remember.

The Scouts took a moment to retire more than 80 worn and tattered American flags during a patriotic ceremony by the river that Sunday night. The traditional method is to incinerate flags but the Scouts took the time to cut the white and red stripes apart and burned each color separately. The Blue Star field was burned whole, representing the Union of the 50 States.

The Ceremony began with the explanation of the history of the US Flag and the Rendition of the Pledge as told by Red Skelton in 1969:

I – Me; an individual; a committee of one.

Pledge – Dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without self-pity.

Allegiance – My love and my devotion.

To the Flag – Our standard; Old Glory; a symbol of Freedom; wherever she waves there is respect, because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts, Freedom is everybody’s job.

United – That means that we have all come together.

States – Individual communities that have united into 48 great states. Forty-eight individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose. All divided with imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common purpose, and that is love for country.

And to the Republic – A state in which sovereign power is invested in representatives chosen by the people to govern. And government is the people; and it’s from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people.

For Which it Stand

One Nation – One Nation under God..

Indivisible – Incapable of being divided.

With Liberty – Which is Freedom; the right of power to live one’s own life, without threats, fear, or some sort of retaliation.

And Justice – The principle, or qualities, of dealing fairly with others.

For All – For All, which means, boys and girls, it’s as much your country as it is mine.

This was followed by Troop 413 reciting the Pledge.