Boy Scouts, VFW conduct flag disposalPublished 2:14pm Saturday, June 22, 2013
More than 200 American flags were properly laid to rest Friday afternoon during a Flag Day service held on the lawn of First United Methodist Church in Wetumpka.
This year, the members of Boy Scout Troop 50 and VFW Post 4572 combined their efforts in a joint flag retirement ceremony.
Scout Ethan Nettles and Assistant Scoutmaster Gardner Perdue explained the proper disposal of flags to those gathered. Perdue then invited attendees to participate in placing flags on the hot coals in two braziers prepared for that purpose.
“If you would like to place a flag in someone’s honor, feel free to do so,” said Perdue. “I’ll go first, and I want to recognize the greatest patriot I’ve known, Jack DeVenney.”
Many attendees joined the queue and one-by-one carefully placed the folded banners on the fires. Those gathered for the event stood silently watching as the flags were charred beyond recognition.
“This is like a funeral for these flags,” Perdue said. “That’s why it’s appropriate that everyone stand silently and respectfully.”
Perdue said the worn and unserviceable flags were gathered by VFW members and Scouts, and also accepted at the city administrative building.
“We collect flags all year,” said Jud Elliott, post commander.
Friday’s ceremony adhered to the specific rules and regulations established for the dignified and respectful retirement of United States flags. Those rules are set out in the 1923 national flag code, which became law in 1942.
The code was the result of efforts by several patriotic organizations to standardize statutes, executive orders, rules and customs regarding the American flag.
While celebrated as early as 1885, Flag Day was officially established by a proclamation signed by President Woodrow Wilson May 30, 1916. The date was observed in various communities, until President Harry Truman signed an Act of Congress in 1949 designating June 14 of each year as National Flag Day.