Local teen creates ‘flag drop box’ so American flags can be retired properly

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PEA RIDGE, Ark. (KNWA) — The retirement of an American flag carries great significance.

A Bentonville teen put his skills to the test to find a way for the community to retire them properly.

When Zachary Howe, 14, heard that the a flag drop box was needed in Pea Ridge, he hit the ground running.

He spent nearly two months getting it all ready, and installed in on Dec. 28.

It’s located in front of the Pea Ridge Veterans Memorial.

“I’ve had a lot of family in the military, and when I found out about this, I thought it was really cool because it’s a way to get rid of old flags respectfully,” Howe said.

Howard Schuettpelz, a Vietnam veteran who serves as the Senior Vice Commander of the non-profit Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), says his organization is now able to retire these flags with the honor that it is entitled.

“We can have a ceremony and have it disposed of the right way — not being thrown in the garbage, or blown away in the wind,” he said. “It means a lot to us.”

Proper flag disposal, he explained, is by burning them in a special ceremony. “The ashes are put in a place like here at the monument, that is designated for the disposal of flags.”

Howe is in the process of trying to earn an Eagle Scout rank.

He adds, “I’m just proud to help the community.”

Howe was presented with a letter of appreciation from Wood-Hall Post 8109, along with a check.

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