Community Relations Chairman 9/13/23
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Clarkston Scout Hosts 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony

CLARKSTON – A local Scout organized a remembrance ceremony at the Oakland County
Sportsmen’s Club on the twenty-second anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Abhik Arya, 17, is a Life Scout with Clarkston’s Troop 185B and aspires to the rank of Eagle,
Scouting’s highest honor. The badge’s penultimate requirement charges youth to complete a
service project that benefits their community, known as an Eagle Project. According to Arya, he
felt called to pay tribute to the Americans who lost their lives during the 9/11 attacks. As the
Sportsmen’s Club has supported his troop for years, they were an obvious partner.
“I want to give back to my community and country by honoring it in a way I can,” Arya said. “I
want to be able to bring people together and have them go home and recount what happened to
others. I want people to know the sad and courageous story of those who were killed or injured in
the terrorist attacks of 9/11.”
Arya invited dozens of Scouts from across Oakland County to the event, along with club
members, veterans from Waterford VFW Post 1008 and the Independence Fire Department. The
Scout called the audience to attention at 7:00 p.m. and delivered a brief tribute to those who lost
their lives, followed by a moment of reverent silence.
He then directed the Scouts in a flag retirement ceremony. According to Arya, he had the idea to
include this when a neighbor approached him about discarding worn American flags. He
immediately recognized that the inherent solemnity, reverence and symbolism would complement
the evening’s desired ambiance. Scouts are among the few groups that still perform such
retirements regularly, with the US Flag Code mandating that badly worn or tattered flags be
“destroyed in a dignified manner.”
Having been instructed by Arya beforehand, the youth in the ceremony’s flag detail began with
banners made of cotton materials, laying them atop a pyre to be incinerated. The nylon flags were
then buried at the site, as they would release toxic fumes if burned. The evening concluded with a
rendition of “Taps” by Troop 185B’s bugler, Life Scout Nathan Beutler, 17.
“I hope that people will remember my Eagle Scout project as more than just a flag retirement
ceremony, but a day when people came together for the fallen and retired flags to honor them,”
Arya said.

With his project complete, Arya will soon go before an Eagle Board of Review, which will
determine whether to grant him the rank. Once approved, he will join an exclusive fellowship, as
only 6% of registered Scouts ever achieve the honor.
"Earning the rank of Eagle Scout is not just the highest rank that a Scout can achieve, but a
testament to a Scout’s commitment to excellence, service, and leadership,” Troop 185B
Scoutmaster Tyler Cooper explained. “We are incredibly proud of the fantastic job that Abhik has
done throughout all phases of this project, and we know that he will continue to be an amazing
ambassador for Scouting.”

Picture 1: Flags to be buried during the retirement ceremony are stored in a custom box.
Picture 2: Arya poses with firefighters before the ceremony.
Picture 3: Arya directs Scouts in burying the nylon flags.
Picture 4: Troop bugler Nate Beutler, 17, performs “Taps.”
Picture 5: Arya is currently a Life Scout with Troop 185B.