Girl Scouts hope stars shine for troops
By DAN O’BRIEN
GOFFSTOWN - Girl Scouts from Goffstown
last Sunday took a step toward helping soldiers feel a little closer to home.
The girls collected 15 deteriorated flags from locations around Goffstown for an official retirement ceremony at Camp Kettleford. The Scouts removed the stars from each flag, which will be individually packaged along with a poem and handed by the Pease Greeters to veterans and active-duty soldiers landing at Pease Air Terminal in Portsmouth. Since 2005, the volunteer group has met hundreds of troops with applause, refreshments, a bank of phones to call home, picture-taking and prayers of thanks.
Sunday, Stacy Edgar, a mother and leader for Junior Troop 10693 and Cadet Troop 20744, recited Flag Retirement Ceremony Poem No. 7 as the girls, along with parents and local Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, looked on.
"I am more than just a red, white and blue cloth shaped into a design. I am a silent sentinel for freedom," Edgar read. "As you cut and rip me apart and watch me burn, do not be sad or feel sorry for me. I have had the great honor of being your flag for the United States of America."
Edgar said she was contacted by the CEO of the Girl Scouts, Tracy Mueller, about performing the flag retirement project.
"I presented it to my girls. When they heard the idea of presenting to the soldiers and veterans ... it's all they talked about for weeks," she said.
"We want to help our country," Scout Zoe DesMarais, 11, said. "They're probably going to be happy."
Edgar's daughter, Alicia, 11, said she understood the purpose behind
"They're giving us our freedom," she said.
The ceremony was held in the early afternoon, a few hours after a morning Mass at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Goffstown. There the Rev. Bill Exner blessed the flags while asking a higher power to grant the troops, "a safe and speedy return home," Edgar said.
"It's extra special," she said.