Worn Flags


By Freddy Groves

New England Senior Beacon

July 2010, Volume 25, No. 311

I think the worst thing I ever saw, flag-wise, was a flag in a puddle at the bottom of a tall pole in front of a youth center. Driving rainstorm or not, I was out of the car in a heartbeat and rescued the soggy cloth. The next day, after I'd dried the flag, I took it back to the center, and it turned out that the teens responsible for raising and lowering the flag were all in the rec room.

Never one to let a teaching moment pass, I ended up giving the kids a few instructions for the proper care and handling of the flag. To their credit, they took it seriously, working out daily assignments for putting the flag up and taking it down. They practiced folding and clipping the flag to the halyard.

One thing led to another, and those kids developed their own project: Over the next year they're going to hold fundraisers to replace the worn flags on the poles outside the stores along the main drag of our town. Next summer they'll take all those worn flags and participate in the flag-retiring ceremony at the local American Legion. Posts of the American Legion hold flag retirements, called "The Ceremony for Disposal of Unserviceable Flags", each year on Flag Day, June 14.

You know where I'm going with this, right? I'm calling on you to do the same thing, either with a kids group or a school class, or even by yourself if necessary. If you start now, by next summer the flags in your area should be in great shape and the worn flags can be retired with dignity.