Flag Retirement Ceremony

Veterans in the community gather to respectfully dispose of American flags.

The American flag is the most recognized and most displayed banner in the world.

Flag Day is a day to celebrate the true meaning of the stars and stripes.

There's a right and wrong way to display and store the flag, and to dispose of it as well.

Vietnam veteran, Jerry Hagerman comes from a lineage of military servicemen.

"My dad was in World War II. I was in Vietnam. My brother in the Cuban Crisis - my other brother was in Desert Storm. It means to honor these people for the sacrifices they've made for the freedom we have," Hagerman said.

Freedom, that comes with a price.

"Freedom is not free. It always comes with debts, sacrifices, limbs and everything else," Hagerman added.

Every Flag Day, the VFW Post 1298 holds a Flag Retirement Ceremony. The flags are burned and the remains are placed in a canister and buried on the post grounds.

"Flag Day is a day that goes back hundreds of years honoring the flag that so many men shed their blood for," said Post Commander Michael Graf. Like Jerry Hagerman, Commander Michael Graf is a Vietnam veteran.

"The American flag means...it's a thing that puts tears in your eyes if you've been with men that have given their life for it," Graf said. For him, the stars and stripes are an emotional reminder of our liberties.

"It's a symbol of everything that is great about this country, the men and women that serve it, that are still serving it today," said Graf. The American flag was officially established by the Continental Congress on June 14th, 1777.

Proper flag etiquette is an important way to show respect for the banner that represents so much.

"We have veterans here that served in World War II, in Korea, and everything in between, so it means a lot to every veteran," said Graf.

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.

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.

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