PDT Staff Writer
If you are flying a torn or damaged American flag maybe the time has come for you to get a replacement. But once you have replaced that tattered flag with a newer one, what do you do with the unserviceable flag? Shawn Gee, Commander of James Dickey Post 23, of the American Legion says there is a proper way to dispose of that flag, and Post 23 will be holding a flag burning ceremony Friday at 8:30 p.m. at the post, 705 Court St. in Portsmouth.
The Ceremony for Disposal of Unserviceable Flags is outlined in Resolution No. 440, passed by the 19th National Convention of The American Legion in New York, Sept. 20-23, 1937. The ceremony has been an integral part of American Legion ritual since that date.
Gee urged people to bring in their unserviceable flag’s for proper disposal. Refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the ceremony.
“We’re going to go through our Legion rituals as far as going through our commands and inspecting the flags, to show them the proper respect before we dispose of them,” Gee said. “We have a ceremony that is about 10-15 minutes.”
The ceremony is something Post 23 does annually and something more often.
“We will be retiring flags because there is a proper procedure to do that. The flags are burned,” Adjutant Ken Crawford said. “We’re going to have the ceremony. There will be the color guard, and there will be several officers from the Post. We do this every year, and we’re going to have the ceremony on the actual Flag Day which is June 14.”
The purpose of The American Legion in adopting the ceremony was to encourage proper respect for the flag of the United States and to provide for disposal of unserviceable flags in a dignified manner. Resolution No. 373, approved by the National Convention of The American Legion meeting in Chicago, Illinois, September 18-20, 1944, re-emphasized the purpose of proper public Flag disposal ceremonies and encouraged greater use of this ceremony by The American Legion.
Gee said there is a good reason why the American Legion ritual should be followed, and why people should bring their unserviceable flags to them for proper disposal.
“It shows the proper respect for the flag,” Gee said. “A lot of people don’t really have a clue how to properly dispose of them. And when we do that, it kind of honors our flag.”
Crawford said the proper disposal of the flag is just as much about respecting the symbol as respecting the men and women who served.
“The flag is the symbol of our country. And it is to be treated with respect and honor,” Crawford said. “When a flag has served it’s time, and it is starting to get tattered or worn, there’s a proper way of disposing of it which shows respect to the flag, and to the country, and to the men and women who served the flag.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.