Patriotism, Respect Abound at Flag Day CeremonyAug 03, 2016 08:19AM ● By Bryan Scott
A flag retirement ceremony was held at the American Legion Post 112 in Murray on Flag Day, June 14, to honor and retire flags no longer serviceable to fly. —Susie Brass
By Travis Barton | [email protected]
Murray, Utah - The American flag has 50 stars and 13 stripes, but there’s only one way to properly retire a flag.
The American Legion Post 112 in Murray held a flag retirement ceremony on Flag Day, June 14, to honor, burn and retire flags no longer serviceable to fly.
“It’s important to honor a flag that has flown over so much conflict and also so much wonder,” Jennifer Brass, Murray Exchange Club president, said.
With over 80 people in attendance, including Boy and Girl Scout troops, 38 flags were ceremoniously retired as a way to honor the flags and what they represent.
Each flag was properly folded and inspected to ensure it was no longer serviceable before being presented to the legion officers to be reverently placed in the flames.
“We feel American Legion ground to be hallowed ground, and that’s where these ceremonies will always be conducted,” Jim Welch, second vice commander of the post, said.
It’s a tradition for the American Legion Post to perform this ceremony every year. Last year they decided they wanted to include the public more, especially Scout troops and other youth groups, so they too can recognize its impact.
“It hit home with the parents as well as the young people. It makes you stop and think for a bit,” Welch said.
Welch said the ceremony is special. All members of the post who served in the military learned at a young age to respect the flag.
“We served our country — either voluntarily or involuntarily through the draft. We’re a patriotic group and the American flag is the symbol of freedom and the symbol of the United States,” Welch said. “We try to honor it once a year and respectfully and honorably retire those flags.”
Flags that were tattered, torn and damaged were dipped in fuel and placed in fire canisters.
“It’s paying respect to the colors,” Welch said.
Carlton Defosse, a member of the American Legion Post and the Murray Exchange Club, said one of the highlights for him was witnessing people in attendance volunteer to retire some of their flags.
Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, members of the post’s motorcycle component and a World War II veteran all took their flags up to be burned. Many brought flags in honor of family members who were veterans.
“It was a nice, diverse representation of the audience, so all factions of the audience there were represented,” Defosse, who also brought a flag, said.
Defosse, who served three years in the military as a volunteer, said this ceremony is something he always wants to be involved in and committed to.
“It helps foster the education to the younger people in our culture about where our nation came from and how we got where we are today,” Defosse said.
The ceremony will be repeated on Sept. 11. Everybody involved said they hope to capture the same reverence of the Flag Day event.
“It was a somber and reverent ceremony,” Brass said.