American Legion Riders retire old US flags, honoring them with a proper flag retirement ceremony.
Tossing an American flag into a fire may seem disrespectful but, when done right, it is actually the proper way to honor a flag that is unfit to fly. Last Saturday in Martinsburg, a group of American Legion Riders from Chapter 14 held a retirement ceremony where they properly disposed of several unserviceable flags.
Brian Tolstyka, commander of American Legion Post 14 and director of the American Legion Riders Chapter 14, is a big supporter of disposing US flags with a proper send-off. He said, “We’re veterans, and (the American flag) is a symbol of what we and our comrades fought for. To throw it in the trash is disrespectful.”
Burning old, tattered American flags is part of the US Flag Code. Although the Flag Code is not official law, the Riders and American Legions all over the country accept it as the governing guidelines on how to treat and handle American flags. Throughout history fire have been seen as a way to cleanse, which is another reason why old flags are burned.
The American Legion Riders were invited to use the Historic Boydville Mansion as a place to hold their ceremony. In fact, the Riders held the ceremony in honor of the property’s caretaker who is also a US veteran.
The veterans invited any business owner or individual with an old flag to donate it to their cause. The Riders also mentioned that they are always open to receiving flags in need of a proper retirement. The event was also open to the public.
Retiring a flag when it it unfit to fly is only one part of proper American Flag etiquette. To learn more about flag etiquette and how the US Flag Code says to handle it, click here!
Have you ever been a part of a US Flag retirement ceremony? How about just watched one? We would love to hear about it!
Credit: Journal News