Retiring the Flag
Thu, 10/12/2017 - 5:00am admin
By Jim Eshleman / Big Horn County News
Members of American Legion Post 8 retired more than 50 flags in a burning ceremony Saturday afternoon at the City of Hardin’s Fire Hall.
American Legion post members saluted and played taps during the ceremony, but they were not alone as three young local girls – Lillith Bell-Reed, Tamika Covers Up and Paetin Abeyta – showed their patriotism by also saluting while these flags were retired.
Flags are retired when they have become worn or damaged.
When the American flag is no longer in proper condition to fly, it should not just be thrown away. Organizations such as the American Legion offer flag retirement programs in their communities to properly dispose of the flag.
There are three methods to retire the Flag of the United States – ceremonial flag burning, flag burial and flag shredding.
While the burning of the flag to many may seem unpatriotic, the Legion believes it is not, citing that it is burned correctly while being saluted. Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance or even singing of the National Anthem also are acceptable. Local members, saluted and played “Taps” during their retirement ceremony.
For those who wish to bury the flag, the Legion states, begin by finding a dignified wooden box – it should be of good quality and construction, as this box will serve as the flag’s vessel as it is interred in the ground.
Fold the flag correctly and respectfully, place it in the box and then bury it in the ground.
According to the Legion, you may even consider giving the flag short “funeral.” Give a speech on the importance of the flag, then stand at attention as the flag is lowered into the ground. Observe a moment of silence as the flag is buried.
The third method is shredding.
Shredding an American flag may seem violent, but the U.S. Army’s Institute of Heraldry assures that shredding is an acceptable disposal method, provided it is done with reverence.
To shred the flag according to procedure, use a sharp scissors to slowly and accurately separate the 13 stripes, leaving the blue star-spangled field intact.
After the flag is cut into pieces, place it in a respectful receptacle and bury it following the above procedures or ceremoniously burn the pieces one by one, starting with the stripes and ending with the blue field.
To have your flag disposed of, contact American Legion Post 8 Commander Bill Joseph at (406) 208-6443 or any American Legion member.