Illinois Eagle Scout develops dropbox to respectfully retire American flags


BELLEVILLE, Ill. – An Illinois teen wants to give back to his community by asking for some worn flags.

Eagle Scout Jake Buettner has an affinity for Old Glory. When a flag is worn and seen better days, Buettner wants to retire it properly.

“We’ve had already 10 or 15 flags in the first couple of weeks of it being here,” Buettner said. “That’s without the word getting out as much yet. It’s just really promising to see and I’m really happy. I’m really happy to see it.”

Buettner designed and built a retired flag dropbox to store worn flags until they can be properly disposed of.

“Well, we’ve got a lot of American flags and our troop does a flag retirement ceremony every year, so I was like, ‘What if we did something that was like collect flags and bring a little awareness to the surrounding area for it,’” he said.

When Buettner pitched the idea of building the box at Firehouse #4, Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert, a former Eagle Scout himself, was on board.

“Well, I think we want to teach our young people to properly respect and display the flag and to also discard it when it’s worn out,” Eckert said. “We find way too many of them in the trash or dumped.”

Buettner’s retired flag box sits outside Firehouse #4 near the 9/11 memorial.

“I think it helps remind people it’s really important to give (the flag) a proper retirement and respect it deserves,” Buettner said.

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