Troop 51 gathers for the first time in months to serve, replace flags

On Friday, May 15 in honor of Peace Officers Memorial Day, scouts from Troop 51 gathered at the Atascadero American Heritage Monument in masks to lower the flags to half-staff in honor of the local, state, and federal peace officers who have died or have been disabled in the line of duty.

This was the first time the scouts have seen each other in person since the shelter-at-home orders were put in place back in the middle of March due to COVID-19. “It was hard for everyone not to shake hands or give each other hugs, but it felt great to be back together and doing service in the community,” said Nicole Hider, a parent and Troop 51 Committee Chair.   

Boy Scouts
Atascadero Scouts Troop 51 pose for a photo after replacing flags at Atascadero American Heritage Monument. Photo by Nicole Hider

“Troop 51 has the honor of the responsible for the flags at the Monument in cooperation with the Vandenberg Chapter of the Military Order of the World Wars who erected the Monument in 2013,” said Hider.

Boy Scouts
Atascadero Scouts Troop 51 salute as the flags at Atascadero American Heritage Memorial are lowered to half-mast in honor of Peace Officers Memorial Day. Photo by Nicole Hider

Each year to honor and show respect, the troop meets at 8 a.m. on the 15 of May to share in a moment of pause for those being honored and then lower the flags to half-staff and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. They then return that evening at 6 p.m. to raise the flags and salute. This year as the scouts were lowering the flags, they noticed that both the American and Betsy Ross flags were beginning to look worn, so they respectively replaced them with a new set when they returned that evening.

Boy Scouts
Atascadero Scouts Troop 51 replace the American flag at the Atascadero American Heritage Monument. Photo by Nicole Hider

After raising the new flags, the troop respectively folded the worn flags to be taken for repair. Once they have been mended, they will be used again in the future.

Boy Scouts
Atascadero Scouts Troop 51 folding worn flags after replacement. Photo by Nicole Hider

All the scouts and parents that were present wore masks and did their part to social distance and keep everyone safe. They will perform the annual ceremony again on Memorial Day. In addition, they will be placing flags in front of downtown businesses that support the Troops Flag Fundraiser.

“We do this on four patriotic holidays: Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Veterans Day,” Hider shared. “If you would like to participate in our fundraiser, please contact us at troop51atown@gmail.com for more information.”

Getting through this together, Atascadero