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Simple Indoor Opening Flag Ceremony

As leaders of young, eager Cub Scouts, you play a crucial role in shaping their experiences and teaching them valuable life lessons. One important tradition you will undoubtedly encounter with your pack is the Opening Flag Ceremony. This ceremonial event not only instills a sense of patriotism but also teaches the Cub Scouts about respect, unity, and proper flag etiquette.

We understand that some of your Cub Scouts may be new to flag ceremonies, so we’ve put together this easy guide for a very simple opening flag ceremony to help you lead a meaningful and memorable ceremony for your pack and den meetings.

Tips for a Successful Opening Flag Ceremony

Prepare Ahead of Time: Ensure that you have all the necessary materials for the ceremony. Gather the US flag, your Pack or Den flag, and any other flags that may be involved. Practice the procession and the commands with your Scouts before the actual event to ensure everyone feels confident and comfortable.

Emphasize the Importance of Respect: Before starting the ceremony, take a moment to talk to your Cub Scouts about the significance of the flag and why we show respect during the ceremony. Explain the values it represents, such as freedom, unity, and justice. This will help them understand the deeper meaning behind the ceremony.

Choosing the Leader: Select a leader for the ceremony, preferably a member of the den. If your den has a Den Chief or another experienced Scout, they can also take on this responsibility. Alternatively, an adult leader can lead the ceremony if needed.

Safety and Protocol: Ensure that safety is a top priority during the ceremony. Keep flags on appropriate flagpoles and handles, and always treat the US flag with the utmost respect. Remind your Cub Scouts to be attentive and follow your lead throughout the ceremony.

Simple Indoor Opening Flag Ceremony for Cub Scouts


The leader can be a member of the den (preferred), a Den Chief, or an adult leader.

Leader: “Will the Audience please rise?”

The audience rises


Scouts carry the US & Pack or den flags walking double file. (see the diagram on the right for formation). Those in uniform do a hand salute. Everyone else places their hand on their heart.

Leader: “Please join us in the Pledge of Allegiance. I pledge allegiance …”

The audience says the Pledge of Allegiance.

Leader: “TWO.”

Everyone stops saluting.

Leader: “Color guard, retreat.”

The color guard walks back out double-file to wait at the back of the room.

Leader: “Color guard, dismissed.”


  • The US flag and other flags (ie Pack flag or Den flag) start in the back of the room. The US flag should be on the right side of the procession and should never be behind the other flags. When they come to the point where the flags must cross, the US flag should cross in front of the other flags.
  • The US flag should be displayed on its own right, as shown in the diagram.

Remember, the Simple Indoor Opening Flag Ceremony is not just a routine event; it is a way for Cub Scouts to show their respect for the flag and the values it represents. With proper guidance and enthusiasm from leaders, this ceremony can become a cherished tradition for your pack!

Why Ceremonies Are an Important Part of Scouting

Ceremonies like the Simple Indoor Opening Flag Ceremony are important in Scouting. They teach Scouts the values of tradition, respect, hard work, and unity, and they reinforce the principles of the Scout Oath and Law. Through ceremonies, Scouts develop a sense of community and belonging that stays with them long after they leave Scouting.

Related Resources for the Simple Indoor Opening Flag Ceremony

Closing Flag Ceremony

Simple Indoor Closing Flag Ceremony

One of the most popular posts on this site is the Simple Indoor Opening Flag Ceremony. This straightforward ceremony has become a favorite for opening den, pack, or other meetings. However, readers often wonder about the appropriate conclusion for such gatherings. The answer is simple: a closing flag ceremony! This is a respectful yet uncomplicated closing flag ceremony perfectly suited for Cub Scouts to carry out. Just like its counterpart, this ceremony emphasizes the values of respect and unity, ensuring a meaningful conclusion to any Scout gathering.

How to Fold the US Flag

Folding a United States Flag does not have to be a daunting task. In fact, even our youngest Scouts can easily learn how to do it. The process is simple yet carries significant meaning, symbolizing respect and honor for the flag and our country. As part of their Scouting journey, these young Cub Scouts have the opportunity to take pride in learning this time-honored tradition. Through this act of folding the flag, they connect with the values it represents and the importance of unity as they come together in this meaningful ceremony. With each fold, they demonstrate their commitment to honoring the flag and embracing the principles it stands for.

Simple Flag Retirement Ceremony

A Simple Flag Retirement Ceremony

In accordance with the United States Flag Code, it is stated that when the flag is no longer a fitting emblem of display, it should be retired in a dignified manner, preferably by burning. While some may suggest specific methods, the key is to ensure it is done with dignity and respect. This straightforward flag retirement ceremony is suitable for Cub Scouts, but prior explanation is crucial. Emphasize the importance of maintaining silence and showing utmost respect during this solemn occasion. Though brief, the ceremony may feel significant to young Cub Scouts as they partake in this dignified act, understanding the deeper meaning behind retiring the flag with honor and reverence.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Simple Indoor Opening Flag Ceremony

What is the Simple Indoor Opening Flag Ceremony for Cub Scouts?

The Simple Indoor Opening Flag Ceremony is a traditional way for Cub Scouts to show respect to the flag and their country before Den and Pack meetings. It involves raising the US flag and the Pack or Den flag while reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Who can lead the Simple Indoor Opening Flag Ceremony?

The leader of the ceremony can be a member of the den, a Den Chief, or an adult leader. They guide everyone through the steps and ensure the ceremony is conducted properly.

How do I begin the Simple Indoor Opening Flag Ceremony?

To start the ceremony, the leader should ask the audience to rise, signifying the beginning of the respectful event.

What should Scouts do during the Color Guard command during the opening flag ceremony?

When the leader commands, “Color Guard, Post the Colors. Scout Salute,” Scouts carrying the US and Pack or Den flags walk in a double-file formation. Scouts in uniform should give a Scout salute, while others place their hands over their hearts.

How do we recite the Pledge of Allegiance during the opening flag ceremony?

The leader will ask everyone to join in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance together as a way of expressing loyalty to our country and its values.

What happens after the Pledge of Allegiance is recited during the opening flag ceremony?

After the Pledge, the leader will command, “Two,” signaling everyone to stop saluting while remaining standing.

How do we conclude the opening flag ceremony?

The leader will give the command, “Color guard, retreat.” The color guard, consisting of Scouts who processed in with the flags, will then walk back in a double-file formation to the back of the room.


43 responses to “Simple Indoor Opening Flag Ceremony”

  1. Greg Foreman Avatar
    Greg Foreman

    Why does the leader say “TWO” before telling the color guard to retreat?

    1. Scouter Mom Avatar
      Scouter Mom

      Whoops! I left that part out. There are two steps in the hand salute. The start of the salute is “one” and the end of it is “two”. So traditionally in a flag ceremony you will hear “two”, often preceded by “ready” to indicate that it is time to end the hand salute.

      So when you hear “two”, end your salute. I’ll add that to the post.

    2. Vince Avatar

      Also, they can’t very well retire, be dismissed while holding the hand salute 🙂 So the salute has to be be ended before they can be dismissed. (note they don’t retreat)

    3. Dave Avatar

      In an elementary school setting can anyone participate, or is it typically scouts? Is there a uniform requirement?

      1. Michael R Best Avatar
        Michael R Best

        Uniform is indicated as class shirt or a class b uniform shirt which consists of a pack tshirt or a day camp tshirt

  2. Eric Ranney Avatar
    Eric Ranney

    This comes from the military when teaching drill and ceremony. It is the by the numbers method of teaching in which a military person would hold or execute the numbered position of a movement. This allows instructors to evaluate each portion of a movement for the details such as hand/weapon placement, carriage, and excessive or improper movement, In this case the hand salute is a two count movement. Position one being to bring the hand into salute position from the natural lay of the arm when at attention. Position two is reversed. For a more comprehensive guide to flag history, customs, courtesies and color-guards you may refer to Army Field Manual Drill and Ceremonies FM 3-21.5 Chapter 15 which is approved for public release.

    1. Wolf Den Leader Avatar
      Wolf Den Leader

      Instead of a military manual, interested leaders can instead look to the Cub Scouts cermonies guide (33212). Last I knew, I joined the BSA and my Scouts joined Cub Scouts, not the US Army.

      1. j Avatar

        What do you think BSA which includes all honors and ceremonies is modeled after?

    2. Webelos Leader Avatar
      Webelos Leader

      Thank you for that explanation. I often wondered what the “two” meant.

      1. Bear Den Leader Avatar
        Bear Den Leader

        My Cub Scouts ask all the time about the use of the term “TWO” and I did not know what to tell them. Now I do. Thanks

    3. William Goolsby Avatar
      William Goolsby

      You are entirely incorrect. I have trained hundreds (yes hundreds) of people from all five of the US Services as Ceremonial Guardsman since 2001. The Color Guard is not at all performed in the manner nor has it been for the last three decades. This particular flag ceremony is not modeled after anything the US Military does.

      As a Head Trainer and as the NCOIC of an Honor Guard I expect my troops to retain the highest respect for our flag; however, for a bunch of Cub Scouts, as long as they don’t disrespect the flag or the ceremony, I am good with it.

    4. Terry Sackett Avatar
      Terry Sackett

      I fully agree with what William Goolsby stated. I would point out that the field manual reference that you gave says nothing about a count or command of “Two” being given in regard to saluting (or any other movement). The movement of “present, ARMS” and the movement of “order, ARMS” are two separate one step movements.

      I am a U.S. Army veteran myself, and though I was never an honor guard NCOIC, I was never taught any command of “Two”. On addition, I am currently the drill instructor and platoon sergeant for my World War II re-enacting organization, and as such, I am required to be intimately familiar with all editions of the Soldier’s Handbook and Drill and Ceremonies manuals from 1941 through 1944, and none of them have such a command. In fact, just to be sure, I also looked through my original copy of the 1911 Soldier’s Manual, and it’s not in there. either.

      I am quite certain that the command is either a BSA invention, or some other non-U.S. military or paramilitary organization.

      1. Jacky Troublefield Avatar
        Jacky Troublefield

        Well, not meaning to be dis-respectful of anyone who may have commented on the subject of the command “TWO”. Yes there is such a command IE: in the navy for removal of your cover of for all the non military (HAT) such as in a formal setting such as a Captains Mass….it would be… the command to un-cover at which time the person being commanded would reach up…grasp their cover with the right hand…similar to a salute….then the following would be in preparation of removal….”Ready”…..”TWO”….which would be followed by the removal of the “cover” sharply down to ones side while still remaining at “ATTENTION” so anyone who has been in the military much less having trained them should be familiar with this.

  3. Chris Avatar

    I can’t thank you enough….I am such a girlie mom and was terrified when my church asked me to help be over the wolves. Your website is the PERFECT aid to the manuals provided by the BSA for us mommies that feel out of our element. This is so very helpful (entire website)!!

  4. Ron Avatar

    This is the most clearly defined procedure on the web. Thank you for this…

  5. Deb Avatar

    Can you please provide some information about the closing flag ceremony at the end of the event? Thank you so much!

  6. howarthe Avatar

    I love how you eliminate “Color guard advance,” and just get right to “Color guard, post the colors.” I find the fewer commands the better. In fact, I leave out, “Color guard, retreat,” and I just end with “Color guard dismissed.”

  7. Cody Avatar

    My name is Cody I am a Eagle Scout in Troop 115 in Tallahassee FL. I’ve had the privilege of conducting flag ceremonies for the past five years. I have seen them done properly and improperly. when it is done right it shows respect for the American flag and shows that the troop or pack takes pride in the American Flag. When it is done improperly it shows carelessness for the American symbol and disrespect for those Who gave their lives for our freedom.
    I have found the commands below the best technique for an indoor flag ceremony.

    Opening Flag Ceremony

    Color Guard, Attention!
Audience, Please Rise!
Color Guard, Forward March!
Scout Salute!
Color Guard, Halt!
Color Guard, Cross the Colors! 

    Color Guard, Post the Flag of the United States of America!

Color Guard, Proudly Post the Flag of the troop/pack!
    Color Guard, Honor your Colors!

    Please recite the Pledge of Allegiance: 


    Boy Scout Sign!
Please join us in saying the Boy Scout Oath: 

Color Guard, reform

Color Guard, About Face!
Color Guard, Forward March

Color Guard, Halt! 

    Color Guard, At Ease!

Audience, Please be seated.

    Closing Flag Ceremony

    Color Guard, Attention!

Audience, Please Rise!

Color Guard, Forward March

Color Guard, Halt!

Scout Salute!

Color Guard, Retrieve the Colors!

Color Guard, reform

    Color Guard, About Face!

Color Guard, Forward March!

Color Guard, Halt! 


Audience, Thank you for joining us.
    Color Guard, Dismissed!

    1. Stacy Avatar

      I think the Boy Scout version of this is great, however, that is waaaay too many steps for these 8-10 year olds. My 8 year olds can barely follow the script for what I have condensed down for them, there is no way they could do the long version. This is what I came up with that seems to give the correct order but is simplified.


      Color Guard, Attention!
      Will the Audience, please rise!
      Scout Salute! Audience, please prepare yourself for the Pledge of Allegiance.
      Color Guard, Advance!
      Color Guard, Post the Colors!
      Color Guard, Salute!
      Please join me in the Pledge of Allegiance.
      Two! The audience may be seated.
      Color Guard, Dismissed.


      Color Guard, Attention!
      Will the audience please rise and give the proper salute.
      Color Guard, retrieve the Colors. (wait for them to exit or to be at the back of the room.)
      Color Guard, Dismissed.

      1. Jason Avatar

        Huge help. Thanks!

    2. Shannon A. Avatar
      Shannon A.

      Thank you for sharing this. I want to teach the boys the correct way to do it so they are not struggling in the future and this was perfect!

  8. Jody Avatar

    I agree with Cody. The problem with short cutting/eliminating steps is it is not properly teaching them flag. They will then struggle in Boy Scouts relearning the proper methods.

    Keep in mind that they shouldn’t be expected to learn flag in one meeting or even one year. This should be taught through at least three years of scouting. By the end of Webelos2/Arrow of Light they will have mastered the procedure.

    Repetition over and over. Every meeting. They WILL catch on.

    Do not short cut. You aren’t doing them any justice.

    1. marie a lutchman Avatar
      marie a lutchman

      Im not sure because i look at it like it not doing them any favors….Example: .when they start soccer or football they dont begin with the same measurements of a soccer field length or tackle football when they are really young, they basically begin with a smaller soccer field or flags for football……when they reach the Boy Scout level or even the Webelo level, they will eventually know the hundreds of ways to do a flag ceremony. Any ceremony respectful to the American Flag concerning presentation and respect would get my approval……the details usually can be simplified as long as the presentation and respect is given to the flag during the ceremony……

  9. Laura Avatar

    Jodi, I disagree. Cub Scouts have to relearn everything for Boy Scouts, which is why we start teaching Webelos the Boy Scout information instead of the Cub Scout information. My Tigers, who can’t even read, could never do that many commands. They are 6, they can barely be serious for the short ceremony. Of course we teach them to respect the flag. Should an adult be the ‘caller’ who says the commands? No way, that is taking it away from the boys. I think we should expect greater complexity slowly over time. I don’t teach students to read by starting with Shakespeare- first we have to learn the alphabet!

  10. Tabitha Avatar

    Thank You Cody,

    I am a Web 1 leader and will be starting your version of the falg ceremony at my den meeting tonight.

  11. Holly Avatar

    I love your posts but would love to see you make them into PDF files so I can share them with other scout leaders at Roundtable. I am the Cub Scout RT for my district and your posts and info have been a wonderful source of ideas. Thank You!!

    1. Scouter Mom Avatar
      Scouter Mom

      I recommend Print Friendly for turning web content into PDF format. It generally does a really nice job and lets you remove parts you don’t want just by clicking on them. They have a button you can install in your web browser to make it easy:

  12. Patty Avatar

    Thank you for this simple indoor ceremony. I see that mostly men have replied that it is “incorrect.” However, I am finding out that not only my cub scout pack, but an ever-increasing number of cub scout packs in PA have women (i.e. mothers) den leaders. The number one reason? The men “don’t have the time to commit.” So, gentlemen, instead of taking all of this time to post the “correct” way to do a flag ceremony, how about getting into the dens and leading our young boys correctly? Scoutermom–thank you!

    1. Terry Sackett Avatar
      Terry Sackett

      Patty, I have been a man for most of my 48 years, and I’m a den leader. Both of my assistants are men, and one of them is a highway patrolman. We are in the den every week from the beginning of September through the end of May, and twice a month in June, July, and August.

  13. Scout Dad Avatar
    Scout Dad

    I appreciate the short attention span of the Tiger Cubs….but we need to teach our young men to conduct themselves in a manner that is respectful of our flag….I think a difficult ceremony shouldn’t be a reason not to learn it. I’m going to spend some tonight with my Weblos standardizing our Pack’s flag ceremony and spending the next year and half teaching the other Dens. I’m definitely going to bring a little more ceremony to the fore.

  14. Shawn Mansfield Avatar
    Shawn Mansfield

    I like the short version, it’s easier to memorize. Once the boys memorize the script then it is executed more precisely.

    Respect for the flag isn’t measured with a stopwatch. Following some protocol doesn’t generate respect. The boys learn respect from learning what the flag symbolizes.

  15. Troy Avatar

    Greetings All,
    Thank you all for have so much passion about a very important subject. I teach Flag Etiquette and the most important thing to remember is the respect shown to the Flag because it represents us, you and me. I think the different versions of the ceremonies are fine and well done. Each unit must be able to adjust to what their youth can learn and perform. As the youth get better make the ceremony more formal.
    The only 3 things that seem to come up that cause a wrinkle with Veterans is 1) the US Flag should always enter a room on the Flags’s own right and then be transfer over to the other side of the room once it is at the front so that the Flag is “Facing” the audience from it’s own right again. 2) As the Flag on a staff begins to move into and through a room, all in uniform should render a hand salute, those not in uniform placing their hand over their heart. This until after the Flag has been “Posted” 3) Color Guard Members do not salute nor do they recite anything while they are in formation.
    I only mention these as a reference, all of you are doing a great job and I am by no means an expert. Please continue your efforts with enthusiasm as they are greatly appreciated and needed!!!

    Thank you!!

    1. Lee Avatar

      Well said, Troy. I agree that the level of enthusiasm is high enough to elicit a passionate debate as to what’s right in terms of the very important flag ceremony. I believe that teaching respect for the flag and what it represents should be priority 1. The steps used to show this respect can be altered a little without jeopardizing the integrity of the ceremony.

      Kudos to all for your dedication in teaching this patriotism to our young men.

    2. Alison Avatar

      Troy. Even the young Cubs shouldn’t salute as they are just learning about respect? When it’s half of your pack that’s hard to imagine. Also, is it ever appropriate to post the colors AFTER the pledge has been said? This came up in our pack meeting tonight and I was quite adamant that it’s not ok to have a cub holding the flag during the pledge. There were a few in the group who were not in agreement.

    3. Terry Sackett Avatar
      Terry Sackett

      Troy, it’s not so much a “wrinkle” as far as this veteran is concerned. It’s supposed to be that way according to the U.S. Flag Code (Title 4, United States Code). Granted, the Supreme Court has never affixed penalties for violating it, but it is federal law, and it should therefore be followed by the Boy Scouts of America, should it not?

  16. Terry Sackett Avatar
    Terry Sackett

    Besides being a Cub Scout in the late 70s and Boy Scout in the early 80s, I have been an assistant Scoutmaster, an assistant Webelos den leader, a Cubmaster, and I am currently a Bear den leader for a combined den from three different very small packs. The Bears are responsible for the tri-pack meeting flag ceremony every three months. I have found that with 9-year-old boys, the simpler the commands, the better. However, as Scouter and a U.S. Army veteran, dignity for the National Color is essential. One of my assistants is a Nevada State Trooper and a veteran of the U.S.M.C. and shares my feelings completely. In pursuit of both of the goals of brevity and dignity, I have created the following indoor flag ceremony. Because we are three packs, we use the National Color and the Nevada State Color, not a pack flag. The commands are in quotes, with the explanation in parentheses. I have the commands printed on a laminated sheet of paper for the Scout who is chosen to be the commander to read:

    “Please stand for the posting of the colors.”

    (When the audience is standing)
    “The audience will salute the flag.”

    “Color guard, advance.” (The Color guard marches four abreast up the house right side of the room. If they are not four abreast, it is NOT a Color guard. When they get to the front, the two carrying the state/pack color stop at the stage left flag stand, the two carrying the National Color continue to the stage right flag stand.)

    “Post the colors.” (The flags are placed in their stands)

    “Salute.” (The Color guard salutes the National Color and holds it through the Pledge)

    “We will now recite the Pledge of Allegiance.”


    “Color guard, dismissed.” (The Color guard takes their seats with the audience)

    “The audience may now be seated.”

    You will note that I don’t have the flags cross. I have a version from when I was a Cubmaster of a larger pack that allows for U.S. flag bearer and two guards, and a pack flag bearer, also with two guards, and they cross in front. If you have the flags march down both sides of the room, they must each have two guards or it is wrong. Period.

    The following is to retreat the colors. You may change “Retreat” to “Retire” if you want to adapt this ceremony for your unit. I always understood “Retiring of the Color” to mean destroying an irreparable flag by burning it, so I call it “Retreating”.

    “Please stand for the retreat of the colors.”

    “Color guard, report.” (The Color guard approaches and two Scouts stand by each flag)

    “Salute.” (The Color guard gives a quick hand salute to the National Color)

    “Carry the colors.” (The flag bearers remove the flags from their stands)
    “The audience will salute the flag.”

    “Color guard, retreat the colors.” (The Color guard forms up and marches to the rear of the room)

    (When the Color Guard gets to the back of the room)
    “That concludes the flag ceremony. Thank you for coming.”

    1. Jacky Troublefield Avatar
      Jacky Troublefield

      Would not the word “Retreive” be a better choice than “Retreat”? NEVER SURRENDER NEVER RETREAT?

  17. Zac Avatar

    I believe there are many ways to conduct a flag ceremony that will instill the dignity and respect deserved by our flag. While I understand that there is protocol used by the military and other government agencies, I don’t believe we need to get to uptight about how an 8 year old will perform the ceremony.

    There are many things I know of that are not mentioned above that we should also be aware of, like the fact that the US flag does not dip while the Pledge is recited, which I see often. And it should not be restrained at the bottom while it enters, even on a windy day. And that it should be posted first and retrieved first.

    As with everything in scouting, the KISS system works. Keep it short and simple.

    Use a simple ceremony that the boys can master easily, then teach the methods that go along with the ceremony. Carrying the flag proudly, walking briskly, saluting properly and at the right time.

    Remember that as adults we have taken part in hundreds if not thousands of of flag ceremonies in our lifetimes, an 8 year old has probably seen a few dozen that he can remember. Heck, most of my Wolves thought you needed to burn a flag if it hits the ground.

    Teach and instill respect. Then make the ceremony more elaborate if you think it needs to be.

  18. Mike M Avatar
    Mike M

    If I could add two points.
    One is that you have posted the wrong diagram for the opening ceremony, you have the closing ceremony as the diagram.
    Two, if you are doing this with parents/adults present you may wish to add to your dialog after asking the audience to rise announce that all prior service military can salute the colors if they wish, in or out of uniform.

  19. Amy Guinn Avatar
    Amy Guinn

    Remember to ask the audience to please be seated.

  20. Cheryl Reynolds Avatar
    Cheryl Reynolds

    There is one point I am still confused about. After the flag bearers post the flags in their stands, and the command is given to recite the pledge, do the flag bearers salute and recite the pledge or do they just stand with their arms at their sides and not recite the pledge? Thank you. We are trying to do this correctly.

    1. Leanne Avatar

      When you are the bearer of the National flag YOU ARE THE FLAG you do not salute the flag, as you are part of the flag. The National flag bearer should also wear white gloves. The National flag is then posted after being saluted. This is coming from a Sr. Leader of Children of The American Revolution- our Nation’s oldest patriotic youth club.
      Hope it helps.

  21. Candace Avatar

    My pack is currently in disagreement over which flag is posted first. Is the US flag posted first, just like it would be raised first outdoors? Or is the US flag last so that held flags will not be higher than it as they are being posted?

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