Annual Flag Day hosts flag retirement ceremony, retires 200-250 flags

Jordan Gerard/SGH Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of Spring Grove assisted the Legion with retiring flags. Each scout made several trips back and forth, carrying flags to the burn barrel.

The American Legion Post 249 hosted their annual Flag Day flag retirement ceremony on Thursday, June 14 in Viking Memorial Park.

An annual event, it gives people the chance to retire their flags properly, which is by ceremoniously burning them. 

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.”

This year, about 200 to 250 flags were retired. The Legion collects the flags during the year and usually hosts a flag burning ceremony on Flag Day every year.

“People remember that we collect flags and ask to have the burning,” Commander Anne Doering said. “A lot of them are retired from graves.”

Post members Dean Johnson, Doering, Christian Myrah, Fordyce Brevig and Jim Wilhelmson performed the ceremony and then retired the flags, one at a time.

Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts assisted the Legion in the ceremony.

The flags were presented to legion members, inspected and approved for retirement, having done their duty. Though it was windy, all of the flags were retired.

The Legion has hosted the ceremony for many years, though some years there has not been a ceremony. 

Doering said it’s best to do it every year so the number of flags doesn’t get so numerous.

The purpose of Flag Day is to commemorate the adoption of the U.S. flag on June 14, 1777 by the Second Continental Congress. In 2018, the flag is 241 years old.

President Woodrow Wilson, who issued a proclamation, officially established Flag Day in 1916. 

However, it’s at the sitting president’s discretion to officially proclaim the observance of Flag Day. In observation of the day, many states and cities hold parades and festivals to celebrate the flag.