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Boy scouts burn American flags in respect

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ATOKA, Tenn. -- Boy Scout Tony Hilbert shows us torn and tattered American flags that scouts and vets have collected over the past year.

When a flag starts to tear etiquette says you retire it respectfully, including by burning it.

“It gives you goose bumps. you're honoring the vets, the flag, honoring the country,” said Hilbert..

Navy veteran Brian Styer watched with pride as the scouts gathered and burned flags he helped collect.

He said every year people react when they see the scouts setting the fire.

“They were one extreme or the other and say, ‘Hey, I (almost) died for that flag' or the other extreme was 'burn that flag!'” said Styer.

They're hoping to change the stigma that comes with burning a flag, to remind us there are times when it's not only okay but a beautiful thing.

“There is ritual and custom to it, and it's important to have the discipline and respect Old Glory,” said Senator Mark Norris.

Norris passed a law requiring more flag etiquette to be taught in the classroom and change the stigma we all think of about a burning flag.

“They think of the protesters how they're doing nowadays, but this is completely different.”

We're told ashes from tonight's burning will all be gathered and buried also in the etiquette of the flag.