The sight of an American flag burning can spark a heated debate on a controversial topic; however, Monday evening, it became a symbol of honor and remembrance.

During this dark starless night, more than 100 worn American flags quickly burned into an immense fire as Boy Scouts from Troop 232 took turns placing the flags properly over the flames.

According to the Boys Scout of America Web site, the process of having a flag retirement ceremony is as follows. When the national flag is worn beyond repair, burn it thoroughly and completely on a modest, but blazing, fire. This should be done in a simple manner with dignity and respect. Be sure the flag is reduced to ashes unrecognizable as a former flag.

Troop 232 performs the flag retirement ceremony in front of its lodge around Veterans Day.

“As long as I can remember, we’ve had this event for the past five years,” advance coordinator Kirby Erickson said. “We like to honor veterans but we don’t want to interfere with other Veterans Day activities.”

“It’s a way of honoring our veterans and properly retire our flags that have been given to us,” Scoutmaster Diona Patera said.

Erickson and Patera are both veterans. Erickson served in the U.S. Air Force for five years, while Patera served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 18.

Troop 232 is given flags throughout the year from several organizations and business.

“The library usually donates plenty of flags to us,” Patera said. “We use all the flags we are given by the public.”

The Boy Scouts are often responsible for their own completion of activities and events.

“This is a boy-run organization,” Patera said. “Tonight’s event was run by the boys, Sam, in particular.”

Senior patrol leader Sam Allelo, 13, knows the importance of the American flag and the responsibility of conducting this ceremony.

“Just got to plan and make sure everything goes as it’s supposed to,” Allelo said. “It’s really important to get everything right and make as few mistakes as possible.”

After the conclusion of the ceremony, individuals were offered punch and cookies inside the lodge.

E-mail Anthony at anthony.davila@wninews.com