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Scouts Learn Pride, Honor During Evening Colors
by USMC Lance Cpl. Adam B. Miller - December 3, 2012

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CAMP FOSTER, Japan (11/29/2012) - The evening "Retreat" bugle sounds on a brisk and breezy evening at Camp Foster as 10 boys quickly position themselves at attention and render their two-finger salute as they observe the American and Japanese flags being lowered.

Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, parents and volunteers salute the flag during a recent evening colors ceremony at building 1 on Camp Foster on November 6, 2012. The boys attended the ceremony to learn the history of the American flag and the significance of evening colors. The class is a part of the Boy Scouts’ progression from Wolf Cubs to Bear Cubs. Photo by Lance Cpl. Adam B. Miller
Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, parents and volunteers salute the flag during a recent evening colors ceremony at building 1 on Camp Foster on November 6, 2012. The boys attended the ceremony to learn the history of the American flag and the significance of evening colors. The class is a part of the Boy Scouts' progression from Wolf Cubs to Bear Cubs. Photo by Lance Cpl. Adam B. Miller

Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts were privileged with the opportunity to participate in an evening colors ceremony recently to learn about the ceremony's significance.

“The Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts came here to learn a little bit of history about the flag, build up pride for their country, and help them understand that this is why their parents are here,” said Sgt. Jeremy J. Jakel, the den leader for Troop 098 and a field wireman with Marine Wing Communications Squadron 18, Marine Air Control Group 18, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force.

The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young boys to make ethical and moral choices throughout their lifetime by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law. The Cub Scouts are part of the Boy Scouts of America.

To advance from the rank of Wolf Cub to Bear Cub, the Cubs are required to learn Cub Scouting's 12 core values, bringing them one step closer to becoming a Boy Scout, according to Jakel.

The core value being learned at this evening colors ceremony was citizenship, or contributing service and showing responsibility to local, state and national communities. The Cub Scouts learned to properly fold a flag, the symbolism behind the 12 folds, and the history and traditions behind the flag.

“It goes more in-depth than just the flag,” explained Jakel. “It is more about teaching the boys about national pride.”

Activities like these rely heavily on the support of the community and the boys' parents, and Jakel routinely asks for volunteers to lead classes or discussions.

“I wanted to teach them about the importance of the flag and why we observe evening colors,” said Sgt. Jimmy W. Wadkins, a volunteer instructor for the citizenship core value class and a military policeman for the Provost Marshal's Office, Headquarters and Service Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Butler, Marine Corps Installations Pacific.

Wadkins taught the history and details behind the evening colors flag ceremony, answered the boys' questions about the flag's history, and allowed them to assist with folding the flag.

“The lesson focused on the history of the American flag and the details of the evening colors ceremony, including why the flag is folded and what the folds mean,” explained Wadkins. “The Cub Scouts came to understand why the flag is not allowed to fall onto the ground.”

As the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts folded, Wadkins recited what each fold represented. He concluded the hands-on demonstration by explaining the flag is folded into a triangle, with only the blue field and white stars showing. This is done so it resembles hats worn by those who fought in the Revolutionary War alongside Gen. George Washington.

Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts fold an American flag after evening colors at building 1 on Camp Foster  on November 6, 2012. The boys were instructed on the importance of proper flag etiquette, the history of the flag and the symbolism behind the 12 folds on the flag. Photo by Lance Cpl. Adam B. Miller
Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts fold an American flag after evening colors at building 1 on Camp Foster  on November 6, 2012. The boys were instructed on the importance of proper flag etiquette, the history of the flag and the symbolism behind the 12 folds on the flag. Photo by Lance Cpl. Adam B. Miller

While it is interesting to learn about the symbolism each fold represents, the real point is to give the scouts a sense of honor and pride when they see the American flag, according to Jakel.

Despite the chilly breeze, the scouts were inquisitive, eager and overall excited about the evening's class.

“I enjoyed learning how to fold the flag and learning about its history and what it all means,” said Graham W. McMillan, a Wolf Cub Scout with the troop. “My favorite part was when I got to help fold the flag into a triangle with my friends.”

Seeing the flag nearly everywhere and the daily occurrence of raising and lowering it can lead some people to take the flag for granted.

Volunteers and parents involved with the program go through such efforts to instill in their children the values and traditions on which the United States was founded, so when these boys grow up, they might also recognize and remember the importance of citizenship.

By USMC Lance Cpl. Adam B. Miller
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2012

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