... Old Glory
2005 - Contributed by G. Ernest Heegard
The Flag Comes Up On Flag Pole Hill in the Loop of the Octoraro Bend!
1959 - Contributed by Anonymous
Duty to our country and the national flag has always been a part of Scouting and was an intriguing part of the Horseshoe program in the 1920's. The earliest Retreat ceremonies were held on the athletic field. A small camp marching band led the parade as the scouts and leaders saluted the central camp flag, atop Flagpole Hill.
During those early years, Flagpole Hill was almost devoid of trees, and the pole, flag, and small canon were easily visible from the lower field. Dinner was a welcome sight each evening after hiking down and back for the nightly retreat.
By the mid-thirties, the Retreat ceremony had been moved to its present location and was refined by a former military officer and staffer, "Dutch" Kerwin. It seems each summer questions arise about the Retreat ceremony's origins and some observers with military experience know that something is a-miss, but just can't put their finger on it. In fact they are correct and this is attributed to Mother Nature who isn't always right as her placement of the hill, valley, and slope of the field caused us to have a parade field in reverse.
It was understandable for the first campers to place the first flagpole on the highest spot in camp where it could be seen from all points in camp. When the ceremony was moved to the parade field just above the dining hall, the Flagpole Hill flag was still saluted and continued to dominate Retreats throughout the fifties. The trees surrounding the parade field and Flagpole Hill had not grown tall enough to block the view of the pole from the parade field. It was not until Don Simpson, Scout Executive from 1957-1966, was approached by a young Scout asking, "What are we saluting?" that he immediately had a new flagpole placed on the parade field. The leaders and staff from their side of the field were not aware that the Scouts could no longer see the flag as the trees had long since obscured their view.
Treeless Flagpole Hill
1928 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III
The ceremony has always been with the Scouts entering the field from the road by the dining hall and facing the flagpole and staff on the right side as the flag is lowered. The council flag and the American flag lead the parade and come to rest at the top of the field. The first problem arises when the Adjutant / Program Director dresses the line with the command, "Dress left, Dress," from the head of the field. In military parlance, there is no "Dress left", only "Dress right." If we used "Dress right," it would cause us to straighten the line to the last man on the field instead of to the first Adjutant at the head of the field. As our field is reversed we invented the "Dress left, Dress". While incorrect, it accomplishes what is required.
After the colors are lowered, the order is given to, "Pass in review", and the Scouts march in a clock-wise direction, passing the reviewing line on their left. This, of course, is a complete reversal of a normal parade field. As the troops pass in review, their senior patrol leader gives them a command of, "Eyes left", and again in military lingo, only "Eyes right," is correct.
The Program Director salutes the Camp Director in the time-honored Camp Horseshoe tradition.
Contributed by Anonymous
Another serious problem occurs when the color guard is not properly instructed on how to carry the flags. It seems to make sense to have the American flag on the left, exposing it to the reviewing line, which is on their left. However, this is incorrect flag etiquette, as the American flag is always carried on the right. The remedy for this is easily accomplished by carrying the American flag in the correct position on the right, and dipping the council flag while passing in review, thus exposing the American flag to the salutes of the reviewing line as the color guard passes in review. It is also proper to dip the American flag that is carried by the color guard while the main flag is lowered.
We all should keep in mind that Horseshoe is not a military camp, rather we are a group of Scouts, learning proper flag respect while having fun building troop spirit, scout cooperation, and troop unity. This is best expressed in one of the verses in the song, "In the Loop of the Octoraro Bend":
"The sun comes up over Flagpole Hill, Where Old Glory flew and is flying proudly still, And we'll hike and camp in the old scout way, In the Loop of the Octoraro Bend".