Veterans to celebrate Flag Day with ceremony
STANDISH — The Stars and Stripes have been through a lot. Through wars and battle, the flag has always been there, representing the United States of America.
Now the local American Legion Post is hoping to help people provide a respectful goodbye to their torn and tattered flags as they will hold a “Dignified Flag Disposal of Un-Serviceable Flags” on Flag Day, Monday, June 4, at the Standish Post located at 3221 M-76.
“I hate to see a flag that is tattered and ripped. To me that is disrespect,” said American Legion Post 104 Sergeant of Arms Jim Baker. “I don’t think we give enough respect for the flag. Ten thousand people died on the beaches of Normandy for that flag.”
Letty Smith of the post’s Women’s Auxiliary said she thinks that a lot of people just don’t know how to treat the flag.
“The national anthem, you see so many people checking other people out and not paying attention,” said the president of the Women’s Auxiliary. “There’s a lot of disrespect, and I don’t think people know how to treat it.”
During the ceremony, flags of all sizes will be retired, starting with a proper service that will be performed by members of the Legion.
Each flag will go through a process of cremation as members of the Legion, and possibly Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, will hold the flag over an open fire pit, giving both young and old their chance to send the flags off.
“We let the Boy Scouts do it with our supervision,” said Baker about the cremation of flags after the Legion members do the first one. “As we (cremate) the first flag we fire rifles and play taps.”
Though the Scouts and the members will be the only ones performing the duties, Baker said that the ceremony is open to the public and that he hopes to see a lot of people there.
“America tends to forget. The first few times we did it, we had about 300 people there,” he said about the four-year-old event. “Last year we had 30.”
During the ceremony, the Legion will also sell 3-by-5 flags for $25, 4-by-6 flags for $35, and 5-by-8 flags for $45.
Even if some don’t come to the ceremony, Miller hopes that everyone treats their flag with respect.
“Fly it and be proud of their colors,” he said. “Fly it with respect.”