American flags may wear out, but they never cease to represent the country and are worthy of respect until retirement.
That’s the reason there will be a U.S. Flag Retirement Ceremony on June 14, Flag Day, at Garner’s Lake Benson Park.
The ceremony, complete with respectfully burning damaged or faded U.S. flags, will be led by Garner area Boys Scouts and Girls Scouts at 6:30 p.m. at the amphitheater.
The public is invited to attend and to bring old or damaged flags that are ready for retirement.
“This is something I’ve wanted to do for quite a while,” said Mary Lee of Bryan-Lee Funeral Home, an event sponsor. “I was a Girl Scout and my brothers were (Boy Scout) Eagle Scouts. A flag retirement ceremony is very important to me because the flag represents our country. This is a way to honor our country and flag and display our patriotism.”
The retirement ceremony will follow the Boy Scouts’ protocol.
The blue field of stars, the canton, will be cut from one flag, which represents all of the flags that are being retired. The stripes are then removed from the flag before the pieces are burned.
“It is a very meaningful ceremony,” said Jim Martin, the assistant boys scoutmaster of Troop 10, which meets at Holland’s United Methodist Church.
“When I think of what the flag represents and the services rendered by our military under that flag, the ceremony really speaks to people,” said Martin, who is helping organize the Scouts’ participation.
Lee said she had been told that the community has not held a flag retirement ceremony in 13 years.
“I’ve had several people tell me they have older flags that they didn’t know how to dispose of,” she said. “That’s one reason we’re having the ceremony. It also is important for our young people to see the event and learn about the proper respect of the flag and all that it represents.”
A retirement ceremony is the recommended way to dispose of a U.S. flag.