Sunday, June 14, 2015

Flag Day 2015: Flag Retirement Ceremony at Lowe McFarlane American Legion Post

The Ceremony for Disposal of Unserviceable Flags is outlined in Resolution No. 440, passed by the 19th National Convention of The American Legion in New York, Sept. 20-23, 1937. The ceremony has been an integral part of American Legion ritual since that date.

WHEREAS, Americanism has been and should continue to be one of the major programs of The American Legion; and
WHEREAS, The observance of proper respect for the Flag of our country and the education of our citizenry in the proper courtesies to be paid the Flag is an essential element of such Americanism program; and
WHEREAS, It is fitting and proper that Flags which have been used for the decoration of graves on Memorial Day be collected after such service, inspected, and worn and unserviceable Flags be condemned and properly destroyed;

WHEREAS, Our Flag which we love and cherish
WHEREAS, In a proper service of tribute and memory and love, our Flag becomes faded and worn and must be honorably retired from life; and
WHEREAS, Such retirement of Flags that have become unserviceable may be done in public with respectful and honorable rites...

RESOLVED, That Flag Day, June 14, be recommended as the most appropriate day on which to annually hold this ceremony.

Sergeant-at-Arms: “Comrade Commander, we wish to present a number of unserviceable Flags of our Country for inspection and disposal.”
Commander: “Comrade Sergeant-at-Arms, advance with your detail and present the Flags for disposal and inspection.”

Second Vice Commander: “Is the present condition of these Flags the result of their usual service as the Emblem of our Country?”
Sergeant-at-Arms: “These Flags have become faded and worn over the graves of our departed comrades and the Soldier, Marine, Sailor, and Airman dead of all our nation’s wars.”

Sergeant-at-Arms: “Comrade Vice Commander, we present these Flags which have been inspected by the Second Vice Commander, for your further inspection.”
First Vice Commander: “Have any of these Flags served any other purpose?”
Sergeant-at-Arms: “Some of these Flags have been displayed in various public places.” 

Sergeant-at-Arms: “Comrade Commander, we have the honor to present for final inspection and proper disposal these Flags of our Country.”
Commander: “Have these Flags been inspected by the First and Second Vice Commanders?”
Sergeant-at-Arms: “They have.”

Second Vice Commander: “Comrade Commander, since these Flags have become unserviceable in a worthy cause, I recommend that they be honorably retired from further service.”
Commander: “Comrade First Vice Commander, what does your inspection show and what do you recommend?”
First Vice-Commander: “Comrade Commander, since these Flags have become faded and worn in a tribute of service and love, I also recommend that they be fittingly destroyed.”

Commander: “Comrades, we have presented here these Flags of our Country which have been inspected and condemned as unserviceable. They have reached their present state in a proper service of tribute, memory and love.
“A Flag may be a flimsy bit of printed gauze, or a beautiful banner of finest silk. Its intrinsic value may be trifling or great; but its real value is beyond price, for it is a precious symbol of all that we and our comrades have worked for and lived for, and died for a free Nation of free men, true to the faith of the past, devoted to the ideals and practice of Justice, Freedom and Democracy.

“Let these faded Flags of our Country be retired and destroyed with respectful and honorable rites and their places be taken by bright new Flags of the same size and kind, and let no grave of our soldier or sailor dead be unhonored and unmarked. Sergeant-at-Arms, assemble the Color Guard, escort the detail bearing the Flags and destroy these Flags by burning. The members shall stand at attention.”

Commander: “The Chaplain will offer prayer.”
Chaplain: “Almighty God, Captain of all hosts and Commander over all, bless and consecrate this present hour.
“We thank Thee for our Country and its Flag, and for the liberty for which it stands. “To clean and purging flame we commit these Flags, worn out in worthy service. As they yield their substance to the fire, may Thy Holy Light spread over us and bring to our hearts renewed devotion to God and Country. Amen.”

Commander: “Hand salute.”

(Text courtesy of The American Legion)

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