Muster Day Observance
1430. T45 participants met at Hanover Center Cemetery to prepare. One group retrieved the fire platform from the Beach's, while another formed a four-man color guard and began rehearsing the ceremony.
1500. Additional scouts arrived and began assisting with fire building.
1530. All T45 scouts, P45 Cub Scouts, and Troop 239 Brownies met for briefing by SMIC followed by drill instruction and rehearsal of the ceremony. We made one pass through the entire ceremony with this group.
1600. Ceremony began. The order of the ceremony was as follows:
|Presentation of Colors||Scouts|
|Pledge of Allegiance||Led by Captain of Color Guard|
|Star Spangled Banner||Audience|
|Gettysburg Address||Third Grade Class|
|Procession to Cemetery||All, led by color guard|
|Decoration of Graves and Disposal of Old Flags||Scouts|
|Salute||Scouts (Mr. Noel providing the rifle salute)|
|Taps||HS Band bugler (no echo taps this year)|
1700. Dinner was available at the church following the ceremony.
1800. Scouts remained to help clean up and put away tables and chairs. The fire platform was cleaned up (ashes disposed of in the woods behind the cemetery) and returned for storage at the Beach's.
Once again, this was a very meaningful exercise. Turnout was excellent, and the scouts conducted themselves admirably. Since this is one of our most public events, it is extremely important that we present ourselves well.
o Timing was good. The amount of drill was adequate to produce a sharp color guard without being onerous.
o Don't forget the flags! (The SMIC remembered at the last possible moment before it would have been a problem...)
o The flag disposal component works well in the ceremony and should be continued. The fire platform could stand to be a bit larger, but perhaps the more practical approach would be to build a smaller fire (ie, smaller sticks). Once the flagpoles are burning, the fire sustains itself well.
o The black powder rifle salute works well in the ceremony, and has Mr. Brayman's enthusiastic approval. Marching into view before the Benediction is a good way to give the audience some advance warning of the salute, but it is still very startling. It would be even better to delay a beat after "Scout Salute!" using the motion of taking aim as a way to warn the audience of the moment of firing the salute.
o It's a little hair-raising putting the ceremony together at the last minute, but it does work--and it gives us the opportunity to coordinate with Mike Harris and Ted Brayman. The physical layout also seems to change from year to year, so flexibility is a virtue.
o We need better coordination among the uniformed adults. The SMIC didn't make clear to the adults how they should properly participate in the ceremony, and didn't make particularly effective use of them during preparations. For the future, some guidelines:
-- One person should be in charge of fixing the ceremony and teaching it to the color guard.
-- One person should be in charge of setting up the fire including arranging for fire control.
-- An assistant (preferably one versed in drill and ceremonies) should assist with drilling the entire group.
-- The Cubmaster manages the flags used to decorate the graves.
-- It does help to have uniformed adults inside the cemetery gate to manage the very young scouts decorating graves. The final formation made by the Cub Scouts and Brownie Scouts was very effective.
-- Once the ceremony is in progress the scouts should be left to handle its execution with the adults staying in the background (except as mentioned above). The adults present should decide beforehand (or take direction from the SM fixing the ceremony) how and where they will march in the procession and where they will stand during the decoration of the graves.
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