Skip to content

Honoring the Stars and Stripes

Today marks the 241st anniversary of the commemoration of the flag of the United States as established by a resolution of the Second Continental Congress on this date in 1777.

According to the website, usaflag.org, Flag Day was officially established by the proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30, 1916. The website states President Harry S Truman signed an Act of Congress on August 3, 1949, designating June 14 of each year as National Flag Day.

Many residents will be flying the colors high this day – and throughout the year as well. And, there is etiquette to flying the colors as well.




Flag Display Guidelines

(provided by www.vfw.org/community/flag-etiquette)

On Same Staff

U.S. flag at peak, above any other flag.

Grouped

U.S. flag goes to its own right. Flags of other nations are flown at same height.

Marching

U.S. flag to marchers right (observer’s left).

On Speaker’s Platform

When displayed with a speaker’s platform, it must be above and behind the speaker. If mounted on a staff it is on the speaker’s right.

Decoration

Never use the flag for decoration. Use bunting with the blue on top, then white, then red.

Salute

All persons present in uniform should render the military salute. Members of the armed forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute. All other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart.

Over a Street

Union (stars) face north or east depending on the direction of the street.

Half Staff

On special days, the flag may be flown at half-staff. On Memorial Day it is flown at half-staff until noon and then raised.

Special Rules

Do not let the flag touch the ground.

Do not fly flag upside down unless there is an emergency.

Do not carry the flag flat, or carry things in it.

Do not use the flag as clothing.

Do not store the flag where it can get dirty.

Do not use it as a cover.

Do not fasten it or tie it back. Always allow it to fall free.

Do not draw on, or otherwise mark the flag.

Illumination Guidelines

Per Federal Flag Code, Section 2, paragraph (a), 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.

However, what is one to do when a flag becomes worn and tattered? As in presenting, there are also guidelines for disposal.

Farmington VFW Post 5896 Commander Dwain Asberry said the post, along with the American Legion Post 416, has made disposing of worn flags very easy for the public.

Located at VFW Post at 814 E. Karsch Blvd. and American Legion Post at 1604 W. Columbia Street in Farmington are two former mailboxes to drop off torn and tattered flags.

Each year, the Farmington High School AFJROTC program holds a special flag disposal ceremony where the torn and tattered flags are properly destroyed – preferably by burning – according to guidelines set by the Federal Flag Code.

Staff Master Sgt. Earnest Heflin with the JROTC program explains these community flags are “collected by our local American Legion, VFW and Disabled American Veterans organizations annually and then delivered to the Farmington High School Air Force JROTC who then will fold each flag for proper retirement at the American Legion Post 416 during the fall.”

Asberry said there are typically between 300 and 400 flags received for proper disposal. A ceremony, led by the students, is held each fall and is something Asberry said is “quite interesting” to watch.

The fire is to be “fairly large and of sufficient intensity to ensure complete burning of the flag,” according to the VFW’s website.




Honoring the Stars and Stripes

“This flag should be retired and shown the same dignity and respect as if it was still flying…” Staff Master Sgt. Earnest Heflin, Farmington High School Air Force JROTC

Proper etiquette for the disposal ceremony states the flag should be folded in its customary manner.

The flag is then placed on the fire, with the individuals performing the ceremony coming to attention, saluting the flag, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and holding a brief period of silent reflection.

After the flag is completely consumed, the website states the fire should then be safely extinguished and the ashes buried.

Heflin said the JROTC cadets began performing these flag retirement ceremonies along with local veterans members eight years ago.

“When the United States flag, also known as ‘Old Glory,’ has become worn, torn or faded, then it is time to retire it,” Heflin said. “This flag should be retired and shown the same dignity and respect as if it was still flying and the preferable method is to incinerate or to burn the flag.”

The entire ceremony takes around an hour and half.

The Farmington High School Air Force JROTC program holds a special ceremony each fall to properly dispose of worn and tattered United States flags. These community flags are collected by local American Legion, VFW and Disabled American Veterans organizations annually and then delivered to the cadets, who then fold each flag for proper retirement at the American Legion Post 416 in Farmington.

The Farmington High School Air Force JROTC program holds a special ceremony each fall to properly dispose of worn and tattered United States flags. These community flags are collected by local American Legion, VFW and Disabled American Veterans organizations annually and then delivered to the cadets, who then fold each flag for proper retirement at the American Legion Post 416 in Farmington.

A mailbox removed from service for the United States Post Office is now a perfect flag deposit box for worn and tattered flags. This box, located at the Norman L. Rigdon VFW Post 5896 on Karsch Boulevard in Farmington, is one of many in the area for residents to dispose of flags. The donated flags are given a proper disposal during a ceremony each fall held by the Farmington High School AFJROTC students. 

A mailbox removed from service for the United States Post Office is now a perfect flag deposit box for worn and tattered flags. This box, located at the Norman L. Rigdon VFW Post 5896 on Karsch Boulevard in Farmington, is one of many in the area for residents to dispose of flags. The donated flags are given a proper disposal during a ceremony each fall held by the Farmington High School AFJROTC students. 

A flag deposit box is located outside the front doors of American Legion Post 416 on West Columbia Street in Farmington. A ceremony is held at the post each fall to properly dispose of the discarded flags.

A flag deposit box is located outside the front doors of American Legion Post 416 on West Columbia Street in Farmington. A ceremony is held at the post each fall to properly dispose of the discarded flags.

Shawnna Robinson is the managing editor of the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-518-3628 or srobinson@farmingtonpressonline.com

Leave a Comment