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American Legion Post 90 to hold Retiring Flags Ceremony this Saturday

For first time, program open to the public

By KATIE EGAN - | Jun 10, 2021

American Legion Post 90 is encouraging the public to bring their old American flags to 1401 S.E. 47th St. so they can be disposed of properly.

Worn, faded, damaged or unserviceable American flags should not be thrown in the trash.

The proper way to dispose of them is to burn them.

“The U.S. flag is considered such a sacred symbol that burning it in an undignified manner constitutes desecration,” said Post 90 PR officer Ted Clark. “That’s why the ceremonies are held in a specific manner.”

This Saturday, June 12, the post will host a Retiring Flags Ceremony.

The 11 a.m. ceremony will include a 21-gun salute, inspirational speeches and various color guard presentations.

The main feature will be the flag burning.

American Legion Post 90 has held the flag burning ceremonies for six to seven years.

In the past, the Legion members, the Sons of American Legion and the Legion Riders were invited and about 36 to 48 people attended.

This is the first year it’s open to the public.

“We want to help the public gain a greater recognition of Flag Day,” Clark said. “It seems to get lost in the press of many other holidays. It’s not a federal holiday so a lot of people don’t know about it.”

The post wants to invite the public this year so people would be more aware of Flag Day and how to properly dispose a flag.

“There are other places where you can drop off a flag,” Clark said. “But we want to help the public gain a greater understanding of what the process of disposing them is.”

Another proper way to dispose a flag is to cut it up, Clark said, and then it’s no longer considered an American flag.

“What you can’t do is cut into the field of blue where the white stars are,” he said.

You can put a flag in a box and bury it, too.

You could also dispose of a flag and burn it in a private ceremony. However, the flag must be folded properly before burning.

“But unfortunately a lot of flags are made out of toxic materials now,” Clark said. “Cotton flags are OK. But some other ones give off a toxic fume, especially ones with synthetic materials.”

Flag Day is celebrated each year on Monday, June 14. It commemorates the 1777 adoption of the stars and stripes as the official flag of the United States.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation officially establishing June 14 as Flag Day.

In 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress.

“Flag Day is an important day to be marked by all residents of the United States and particularly important in Cape Coral, a Purple Heart City,” said Post 90 Commander Nick Napolitano.

The American Legion has practiced the Ceremony for Retirement of Unserviceable Flags since 1937.

“This event commemorates what the American people have accomplished throughout the nation’s history,” Clark said. “The sacrifices its service men and women have made and recognizes the symbol of freedom our flag stands for.”

Clark said a number of flags were dropped off at the Legion in 2020 and 2021.

“The Legion burned flags several times during the year due to a lack of space at the post to store them,” he said. “Given the high number dropped off on a regular basis, it’s assumed many people know the correct method of disposing of a flag.”

However, what many people may not know, Clark said, is that if they can’t drop their flag off at a police station, with a Boy or Girl Scout troop or a VFW or Legion Post, they can do their own small ceremony.

Ceremony for Retirement of Unserviceable Flags

When: 11 a.m., Saturday, June 12

Where: American Legion Post 90, 1401 S.E. 47th St., Cape Coral

Information: Call 239-540-8128, email alpost90@yahoo.com or contact Ted Clark 845-527-8948 or tedclark12@gmail.com