Retiring US Flags
Sun, 24 Apr 1994 22:30:54 -0600
On the subject of retiring (burning) US flags, I thought I would share how we
retired many flags over the course of one summer at camp.
We made 4 cages ( I think - its been a couple of years and I have not thought
about that ceremony for a while) that would hold the flags flat and visible
when the cage was held up or laid on the fire. The cage was designed so that
even if a gust of wind came through during the burning only small bits of the
flag could be carried away.
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The above drawing is a rough sketch of what the holder looked like.
We would start our ceremony by asking everybody present to stand (if able) and
to remove all hats. A story that told about the history of the Flag was recited
by the color guard leader after the flags had been marched in. The leader was
dressed in full uniform including pants (as opposed to shorts) and all members
of the color guard also had on full uniforms (hats removed for the ceremony).
After the history of the Flag was recited, the order to retire the colors wass
given. At that point, both flags were laid flat and held over the fire until
they were almost completely burned. When they were finished burning the cages
were placed on the ground behind the fire to cool off. I think we had one week
where we retired 4 flags. When each flag was set on the fire, a gun salute was
sounded (black powder).
After all of the flags had been retired, Taps was played. When taps was
finished, the color guard remained standing in place for about 1 minute, and
order to retreat was given and the regular closing was held.
Hope that sparks some thought (and maybe other people will post ceremonies that
they have done/seen for retiring old flags.)
"... the Order of the Arrow is a thing of the spirit."
"... the Unit is our greatest hope for the future..." Dr. E. urner Goodman
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City