Re: Flag Retiring Questions
Michael F. Bowman (mfbowman@CAPACCESS.ORG)
Thu, 15 Jun 1995 01:53:20 -0400
Your message made me wish I could have accessed Scouts-L earlier in the
day. By now my comment is moot for your purposes, but may help others.
The American Legion publishes a phamplet called "Let's be Right on Flag
Etiquette (American Legion, National Emblem Sales, P.O. Box 1050,
Indianapolis, Indiana 46206) which is distributed by their National
Americanism Commission. At page 18 the American Legion states:
"Q. How are unservicable Flags destroyed?
"A. The code suggests that, 'when a Flag has served its useful purpose,
it should be destroyed, preferably by burning'. For individual citizens
this should be done discretely so that the act of destruction is not
perceived as a protest or desecration. Many American Legion Posts hold
Flag Disposal Ceremonies on June 14 Flag Day each year. This
ceremony creates a particularly dignified and solemn occasion for the
retirement of unusable Flags. (Sec. 176)(k)"
Seems like the American Legion supports Flag Disposal Ceremonies similar
to the one written up by F. WIllard Vickery "With Honor and Dignity"
Scouting Magazine, May/June 1993 at page 34.
The U.S. Code 30 USC 176 does not prohibit such ceremonies. Another
statute 18 USC 700 specifically points out that any conduct consisting of
the disposal of a Flag when it has become worn or soiled is not
desecration of the Flag.
Sounds to me like the local American Legion Commander is having trouble
distinguishing between somebody lighting an upsidedown flag as a symbol of
protest from the dignified final retirement of the flag in a solemn
dignified ceremony. In my opinion it shows a lot more respect than a lone
person wadding up flags and chucking them in an incinerator.
Speaking only for myself in the Scouting Spirit, Michael F. Bowman
Prof. Beaver, Nat. Capital Area Council, BSA mfbowman@CAPACCESS.ORG
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City