Today is Flag Day for the United States America. Flag Day officially occurs each year on June 14. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened on that day in 1777. June 14th is also the birthday of the United States Army. Happy birthday! Hoo-ah!
Proper care of a U.S. flag is of utmost importance. For those of you who fly a flag you might not be aware that there is actually a formal way to properly retire and dispose of an old and worn flag. I will discuss what the Ripley family does for this procedure. There are several options, including bringing your old flag to a local American Legion or VFW office. However, we choose to burn the flag in our back yard. Any of these ways are valid.
We start by buying a high quality flag which will last for a year before it really starts to show signs of being worn and ready for disposal. On Flag Day (June 14th) we dispose of last year’s flag. I picked this date, because it’s a great time to explain the importance of the flag to the children, and we can do so while going through our family ceremony.
Here’s our personal retirement ceremony in a nutshell:
1. While the flag is still hanging, call the group to attention, salute, place your hand over your heart, and recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
The Pledge of Allegiance of the United States (originally composed by Francis Bellamy in 1892)
I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
2. The leader says, “This flag has served its nation and our family well. It is worn to a condition which is not fit to be used to represent the United States of America. We are grateful for its symbolizing our great nation and we pay honor to this flag for the service it has rendered. We will now fold and dispose of this flag.”
3. Take the flag down and then properly fold it.
4. Move to the prepared fire and everyone salutes the flag one last time. The group holds their salute until the leader places it on the fire and then they all finish the salute with the leader’s final salute. The group remains standing reverently until the flag is completely consumed.
May you have a wonderful Flag Day!
-Vaughn “the patriot” Ripley
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