Flag honored at disposal ceremony
The U.S. Flag code states that “the flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.”
Hundreds of flags were properly disposed of during a solemn ceremony Saturday in a vacant lot located at the intersection of Lambert and Jackson streets.
“People really are concerned about what happens to the American flag. They care about it being shown the proper respect that it deserves,” Nick French, organizer of the event, said. “I take this as a positive thing, really. At a time when there is so much discussion about how to be respectful to the flag, someone cared enough to make sure what they saw happening was really the right thing to do.”
He was referring to a visit by members of law enforcement after being contacted by a member of the public who wondered about the fire.
French Funeral Home organizes the annual flag retirement ceremony, with members the local posts of American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars ensuring flags are handled properly during the process and members of the Boy and Girl Scouts Clubs of America helping with the cremation.
This year the Jackson Township Concert Band performed music written by Indiana’s March King Fred Jewell and local resident Becca Maurey performed the National Anthem.
U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Chris G. Durcholz shared a story during the ceremony about the “aha” moment that all servicemen experience when they realize and understand what the United States flag means to them.
“Some may think it’s just symbolism, it’s not real,” Durcholz said with emotion building in his voice, adding the experiences of routine life and the sorrow of death on the battlefield are equally real. “Anything that makes or causes you to pause and acknowledge that American soldiers may be under fire as you listen to the National Anthem is real.”
The realization that soldiers sacrifice their lives for the liberties of all Americans is not the only reason to honor the flag according to Durcholz, the respect extends beyond the military.
“Look at a fire fighter’s uniform, look at a police officer’s uniform; each adorned with an emblem of the flag. Each steps out every day to protect us,” Durcholz said. “Rest assured, tonight when you go to bed, someone is getting up on the other side of the world, putting on their battle gear and preparing to go into battle.”
Military, or first responders, they are citizens who make the sacrifice to serve our country every day, said Durcholz, and that’s why it is important to make sure the American flag is respected, taken care of and properly disposed of when it’s too ragged to fly anymore.
“This is an opportunity, especially for the youth in our community, to honor those who sacrifice. Don’t pass by and do nothing,” Durcholz said about honoring “Old Glory” and the upcoming Flag Day celebration that commemorates the adoption of the first American flag, June 14, 1777. “It’s important.”