When the United States flag becomes worn, torn, faded, or badly soiled, it is time to replace it with a new flag, and the old flag should be “retired” with all the dignity and respect benefitting our nation’s flag.
The traditional method of retirement is to incinerate the flag, but this does not mean that one should simply drop the entire flag intact into a fire.
A flag ceases to be a flag when cut into pieces. The flags were cut up in a very methodical manner with scissors. The corners of the flag were held and stretched by scouts as another scout carefully cut the flag in half, vertically, being very careful not to cut the blue star field.
Then they placed the two halves together and cut them in half horizontally. This left them with four pieces of flag, one being the blue star field. (The reason they do not cut the blue star field is it represents the union of the fifty states and one should never let the union be broken.)
The following is the word of the ceremony:
The U.S. flag is more than just some brightly colored cloth… it is a symbol of our nation.
Seven red stripes and six white stripes; together they represent the original 13 colonies that gave us liberty.
The red stripes remind us of the lifeblood of brave men and women who were ready to die for this, their country.
The white stripes remind us of purity and cleanliness of purpose, thoughts, words, and deeds.
The blue is for truth and justice, like the eternal blue of the star-filled heavens.
The stars represent the fifty sovereign states of our union.
The U.S. flag should be treated with respect when it is flying, and it should be treated with respect when it is being retired.
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.”
Therefore, we retire flags with dignity and respect when they become worn, torn, faded, or badly soiled.
A flag ceases to be a flag when it is cut into pieces. We cut the flag into four pieces, three red and white striped banners and the blue star field. We leave the blue field intact because no one should ever let the union be broken.
As the parts of the flag are placed in the fire, remember… Old Flags never die, they just get fired up!
The Scouts maintained a vigil over the fire until no traces of the flag remnants remained. Then the ashes were collected and buried.
That concluded the ceremony.
Each year Boy Scouts Troop 47 holds this outstanding program. The Blanchester American Legion Marion Post 179 collects flags throughout the year from a box in the lobby of the municipal building for proper flag disposal.
Many were in attendance observing this patriotic event — American Legion members, Boy Scouts, and private citizens. May God Bless America!