Girl Scouts took a break from crafts and games Friday morning to retire flags and memorialize a fallen scout. 

Scouts from all over East Texas have spent the last week at day camp, cooking, making crafts and playing games, while also earning badges. However, scouts spent their last morning learning to properly raise and retire the American flag.

“Flag retirement is a very important thing the girls learn,” day camp director Mary Gedelian said. “They have had a great time this week, but today was much more solemn.”

During the retirement, leaders read about the importance of retiring flags in this way. The flags started with red, white and blue stripes, which symbolized blood, valor and justice. Each scout was able to take a piece or the entire flag to throw onto the fire. The Girl Scouts are one of only a few organizations that can conduct retirements.

“Flags cannot be thrown away or disposed of,” volunteer Bryan Gedelian said. “When a flag is no longer flyable, you can ask us to do it, as you must be trained.”

Following the flag retirement, scouts paid tribute to one of their own who passed in March’s deadly crash in Bastrop, which killed four Huntsville ISD students, including 2018 Huntsville High School graduate Peyton Irwin.

In the aftermath of the crash, the community has come together for the Williams and Irwin families, raising nearly $50,000 and hosting fundraisers such as a softball game in April.

“This was a tragedy for the entire community, but it really hit home for us,” Gedelian added. “She came here every year and she was a great friend to everyone and we miss her dearly.”

Scouts helped decorate a peace garden for their friend, adding a photo and writing her name, Peyton with painted stones. Leaders and scouts locked arms and sang “Make New Friends” in a tribute to their friend.

“This was a special day for us to heal and remember Peyton,” Gedelian added. “The impact she made locally will last forever.”