PHOTOS: Local Boy Scouts, Legionnaires Hold Flag Retirement Ceremony

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On Saturday (June 12), Boy Scout Troop #360 and American Legion Post #134 held a “Flag Retirement Ceremony” for old, worn-out national flags at Burien Town Square Park, and our friend Jenn Ramirez Robson from the city of Burien was there to take photos.

“Flag Retirement” ceremonies are intended to retire flags by burning them in a dignified, solemn manner.

The U.S. Flag Code states:

“The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.”

The flag retirement is usually accompanied by some ceremonial speeches, like:

Adult Leader: The U.S. flag is more than just some brightly colored cloth… it is a symbol of our nation.

Scout #1: Seven red stripes and six white stripes; together they represent the original 13 colonies that gained us liberty.

Scout #2: The red stripes remind us of the lifeblood of brave men and women who were ready to die for this, their country.

Scout #3: The white stripes remind us of purity and cleanliness of purpose, thought, word and deed.

Scout #4: The blue is for truth and justice, like the eternal blue of the star-filled heavens.

Scout #5: The stars represent the fifty sovereign states of our union.

Adult Leader or SPL: The U.S. flag should be treated with respect when it’s flying, and it should be treated with respect when it’s being retired.

Scout #6: The American Creed states, “it is my duty to my country to love it, to respect its Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies.”

Scout #7: Therefore, we retire flags with dignity and respect when they become worn, torn, faded, or badly soiled.

Here are Jenn’s photos:

Click to PlayClick to Play Jenn Ramirez Robson’s Slideshow

Also worth noting is that today (Monday, June 14th) is Flag Day, which is:

“…a day for all Americans to celebrate and show respect for our flag, its designers and makers. Our flag is representative of our independence and our unity as a nation… nation, under God, indivisible. Our flag has a proud and glorious history. It was at the lead of every battle fought by Americans.

Many people have died protecting it. It even stands proudly on the surface of the moon.

As Americans, we have every right to be proud of our culture, our nation, and our flag. So raise the flag today and every day with pride!”

Properly Display Our Flag:
There is a right way and a wrong way to display the flag.  The American flag should be held in the highest of regards. It represents our nation and the many people who gave their lives for our country and our flag. Here are the basics on displaying  the American flag:

  • The flag is normally flown from sunrise to sunset.
  • In the morning, raise the flag briskly. At sunset, lower it slowly. Always, raise and lower it ceremoniously.
  • The flag should not be flown at night without a light on it.
  • The flag should not be flown in the rain or inclement weather.
  • After a tragedy or death, the flag is flown at half staff for 30 days. It’s  called “half staff” on land ,and “half mast” on a ship.
  • When flown vertically on a pole, the stars and blue field , or “union”, is at the top and at the end of the pole (away from your house).
  • The American flag is always flown at the top of the pole. Your state flag and other flags fly below it.
  • The union is always on top. When displayed in print, the stars and blue field are always on the left.
  • Never let your flag touch the ground, never…period.
  • Fold your flag when storing. Don’t just stuff it in a drawer or box.
  • When your flag is old and has seen  better days, it is time to retire it. Old flags should be burned or buried. Please do not throw it in the trash.

Did you Know? There is a very special ceremony for retiring the flag by burning it. It is a ceremony everyone should see.Your local Boy Scout group knows the proper ceremony and performs it on a regular basis. If you have an old flag, give it to them. And, attend the ceremony.

Famous Flag People:

  • Betsy Ross was a seamstress who made clothes for George Washington. In June, 1776, Washington approached her to make the country’s first flag and the rest is history.
  • Francis Scott Key Inspired by the British bombardment of Fort McHenry, Francis Scott Key penned the lyrics to our national anthem as he witnessed the event as British rockets whizzed in the air while our American Flag flew in the breeze.

Did you Know? If you like to study flags, then you are a Vexillologist!

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