By Hunter and Ross Simmons
While there is no greater symbol of freedom worldwide than “Old Glory,” the authors believe that its patriotic display is only mildly more inconvenient, but far more reverent and appropriate, if done compliant with federal law and consistent with the Rules of Flag Etiquette.
The Origin of Flag Day
Flag Day is celebrated on June 14 in the United States, which celebrates the adoption of the flag of the United States on June 14, 1777, by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. The president of the United States issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day in 1916, and in August 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress.
Retirement of the United States Flag
Adopted in 1942, the Flag Code expressly reduced the long-standing tradition of flag retirement to written form, as follows:
“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.” Flag Code, Section 8(k).
Drawing on this authority, the American Legion prescribed burning as the appropriate means of retirement in its Ceremony for Disposal of Unserviceable Flags, contained in Resolution No. 373, which was adopted at its National Convention in 1944. Also in that context, the American Legion resolved that Flag Day was “the most appropriate day on which to annually hold this ceremony.”
Flag Retirement on Flag Day, 2017
In keeping with this rich, longstanding tradition, the American Legion Boyce Aten Post 25 of El Centro will be conducting its Annual Flag Retirement Ceremony on Wednesday, June 14, 2017 from 7:00pm to 8:00pm. The ceremony will be held at the El Centro’s recently completed Veterans Memorial at Bucklin Park, 1350 South 8th St., El Centro, CA 92243. The American Legion will be joined by other veterans’ and community groups. We recommend the event to all, particularly those who have not had occasion to experience the significance of a formal flag retirement ceremony.
Authors Ross Simmons and his son, Hunter, are life members of the National Eagle Scout Association, and Ross is Scoutmaster at Imperial’s Troop 4070. Have a question of Flag Etiquette? Please submit your questions or photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. (By submitting, you’re licensing content for use.)