“Comrades, we have presented here, these flags of our country, which have been inspected and condemned as serviceable. They have reached their state in proper service, memory and love.”
Speaking these words, American Legion Post 188 Commander Roy Tourville received a worn American flag that had been lowered, properly folded and presented to him by the post’s honor guard commander at a ceremony at 6 PM on June 14.
This flag represented the thousands of flags to be retired at the post’s annual Flag Day ceremony, which is open to the public.
All year long, torn, tattered, faded and otherwise no-longer-serviceable American flags are collected at local post offices and at Post 188 and stored in a large trailer.
Members of Post 188 build a large bin from wooden pallets into which the flags, formerly flown in public places, are placed, forming a pyre that is ignited at the end of the ceremony.
“A flag may be a flimsy bit of printed gauze, or a beautiful banner of the finest silk. Its intrinsic value may be trifling or great, but it’s real value is beyond price...” Commander Tourville said.
“Let these faded flags of our country be retired and destroyed with respectful and honorable rites, and their places be taken by bright new flags of the same size and kind.”
The post chaplain read a prayer, and the honor guard performed a three-gun salute.
The folded, worn flag was placed on the pyre and the honor guard was instructed to “retire the flags by burning.”
A new flag was raised by young Marines, concluding the ceremony.