Michael Derleth (75112.1671@COMPUSERVE.COM)
Mon, 16 Oct 1995 11:05:48 EDT
I have been following the thread on flag retirement lately. Having saved
some posts from other sources, allow me to quote one that seems authoritative:
<begin quote with prior permission>
Contrary to popular belief, there is no "official" flag retirement ceremony
in either BSA or the US Military. I know - I've been a trumpet player/bugler
in the Army band system for 18 years and "ceremonies are my business."
Never refer to it as a "flag burning." I know we burn the flag at the
ceremony, but the connotation of the words is FAR different.
The ceremony should be solomn, diginified, and rather short. Make a few
appropriate remarks - mention that we are retireing a flag - not "burning"
it. A nice touch we added at the BLT was to have all the veterans in
attendance to come forward and stand by as an honor guard.
After the short remarks, have two men bring the flag forward, unfold it, and
then drape the flag over the fire as if draping a coffin. Call for a hand
salute when they begin unfolding the flag. If you are retireing several flags
a separate hand salute should be rendered for each as it's unfolded.
If you have a decent bugler available have him begin playing Taps when the
flag (or last flag) hits the fire. Please don't use some kid that plays last
chair trumpet in his Jr. High school band just because he is available.
If a bugler is used - the final hand salute should be held until the last
note has faded away.
Remember - there is no "official" ceremony. These are just my ideas
(and VERY strong feelings) after having played Taps at literally hundreds of
military funerals and several flag retirements.
YIS, Ed Stevens <end qouted material>
Now, I don't want to get the American Legion and other groups who have
developed an official ceremony upset. They do great work. There is one
area of recent posts, that disturbs me. . .the separating of flag parts.
Some people talk of separating the parts of the flag and making a deal over
each one but I find myself offended at the idea. To me, the flag retirement
is much like a funeral and should be treated as such. When it comes time to
lower the coffin into the ground (or the flag onto the fire) we should do the
deed quickly and reverently, not prolonging it with false pomposity.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City