Local organizations honor Flag Day

Published 10:08 am Tuesday, June 14, 2016

In school classrooms, sports stadiums, front yards and military bases, it stands high above the rest of us, flapping in the breeze with chains and grommets clanking. The stars shine bright against the field of blue, and the stripes wave to those who pass beneath.

For many, the American flag stands as the United State’s most important symbol, and in honor of Flag Day, held each June 14, several local organizations paid their respect.

“It’s the nation’s greatest patriotic symbol,” Michelle Stewart, historian for Tyner-Ford American Legion Post 213. “Many many a man and woman have shed their blood for the flag and what it stands for, so it’s earned the honor.”

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American Legion Post 213, along with Elks Lodge No. 95 and Boy Scout Troop 7, regularly honor the flag during meetings and yearly Flag Day ceremonies.

The Elks invited Troop 7 to raise and lower the American flag in addition to leading the pledge of allegiance in a ceremony held Sunday at the Elks Lodge as part of their yearly Flag Day event.

Donna Osburn, the troop’s assistant scoutmaster, instructs both Boy Scouts and Scout leaders in flag etiquette, and had several pointers when handling the American flag. She said the American flag:

•Should not to be used as a decoration.

•Should cross in front of any other flag when being carried at the same time.

•Should not touch the ground.

•Should only be left outside continuously if it is illuminated.

•Should be burned in order to be disposed of properly.

“Actually anyone can retire a flag as long as you do it with dignity and respect, and they should be burned,” she said. “Generally people used to say that the Boy Scouts, military and fire people were the only people who could retire (a flag), but technically anyone can retire a flag with respect. If you have some, I highly recommend you give them to a Boy Scout, and we will retire them with great dignity.

“In most instances if you have an old dirty flag—but not torn and tattered—you can take them to a dry cleaners, and they will clean them free of charge as a respect thing they do for the flag.”

Stewart noted the American Legion will also accept battered flags to be burned properly.

“After it’s been out there a year and it’s gone through hot and cold temperatures, it’s tattered,” she said. “If you’re going to honor the flag by putting it outside your house, continue to honor it by replacing it when it’s tattered and torn.”

Stewart, who served in the U.S. Marines for 22 years, said the flag means something extra to those who have served, which is why many in the American Legion and other patriotic organizations feel so strongly about honoring it, especially during Flag Day and other patriotic holidays.

“I see a part of myself when I see the flag,” she said. “I gave up part of myself—what I wanted to do—for the flag and what is means. That’s almost half of my life serving, so when I see the flag I see part of myself. It’s an emotional symbol, which is why so many people get upset when it’s mistreated.”