Looking for a way to properly dispose of a tattered flag of the United States of America? Or, would you like to attend such a ceremony? You’ll get a chance this coming Saturday, April 22, at 4:30 p.m. at Lucedale City Park.
Scouts of America Troop 25 is in its 16th year of the tradition, although Covid-19 and inclement weather interfered with the event for a couple of those years. This year the ceremony will be part of a spring camporee for troops in the Pine Burr Council Singing River District. Scouts from throughout the district will camp in the park from April 21-23. The flag retirement ceremony will be at the War Memorial fire pit designed and built by the late Jim Corley.
Scouts are known for their patriotism and flag respect. Learning to fold a flag properly happens as early as Cub Scouts. They are well-trained to properly hoist and lower flags on school campuses or other public places. Since its beginnings in the 1950s, Troop 25 has participated in flag etiquette training and in multi-troop expositions in which flags were retired. However, it was March 24, 2007, when the troop hosted its first public retirement ceremony in Lucedale City Park. The first one took place at the same fire pit where it will occur this coming weekend.
Tattered or torn flags needing retirement can be dropped off at First United Methodist Church, Wayne Lee’s Grocery, and the Lucedale Police Department. Flags can also be brought to the park prior to the ceremony.
Title 36, Section 176, of the United States Code states “no disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America.” Furthermore, a later paragraph of this same section states “the flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.”
A burning ceremony is a solemn event showing respect as the flag is considered a country in itself and a living thing. The fire usually involves four kinds of wood: walnut, oak, redwood, and cedar.
Below are a few facts about flying Old Glory:
- It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.
- The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.
- The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all-weather flag is displayed.
- The flag should be displayed on all days, especially on New Year’s Day, Inauguration Day, Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday, Lincoln’s Birthday, Washington’s Birthday, Easter Sunday, Mother’s Day, Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Father’s Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Constitution Day, Columbus Day, Navy Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and such other days as may be proclaimed by the President of the United States.
- Also, the flag should be displayed daily on or near the main administration building of every public institution.
- The flag should be displayed in or near every polling place on election days.
- The flag should be displayed during school days in or near every schoolhouse.
Check out the retirement ceremony this weekend if you can. If you can’t make it, show patriotism by flying the flag at your home or business when appropriate. God bless the USA!