U.S. flags properly retired

Published 7:26 pm Saturday, April 25, 2015

Charles Skelton and John Coon, members of Selma American Legion Post 20, prepare to properly retire 25 American flags Saturday.

Charles Skelton and John Coon, members of Selma American Legion Post 20, prepare to properly retire 25 American flags Saturday.

More than 25 flags were honorably discharged from service Saturday at Selma American Legion Post 20 during a short ceremony.

As Commander Paul Duke called out orders, adjutant John Coon carried the flags across his arms to be inspected by his fellow veterans and Post 20 members.

“It is a very humbling ceremony to me,” Duke said, as he watched the flags burn. “I’ve had a lot of friends that served this country valiantly, and each time we do this I try to remember each one of those friends that have served and even died.”

Email newsletter signup

The ceremonial burning is something the post does every year to make sure flags are properly disposed.

“We see people that bring dishonor to the flag … and as a veteran, that really disturbs me that people don’t show the proper respect to the flag of our country that has provided so much opportunity for so many people,” Coon said.

Saturday was one of the largest flag retirements the post has had since it started holding the ceremony three years ago.

“We do it every year, and as many flags as we get brought to us, we may have to start doing it twice a year,” Duke said. “The word has gotten out to the masses, and people now understand how to properly dispose of a flag.”

Retiring flags in the proper manner is an honor to the members of the post because they understand the true meaning of the stars and stripes.

“A lot of people have shed blood and died for our country, and the flag is a symbol of our country,” Duke said. “We feel very deeply that to honor our past comrades, who are no longer with us, we need to dispose of the flags that they fought so gallantly for in a proper manner.”

Much like Duke, Coon also takes the time to think about fallen soldiers who have given their lives for their country.

“All of us have known people that have lost their lives and given their lives for this country during the country’s various wars,” Coon said. “I have a cousin, who was killed during World War II and buried in Belgium, and I think about him and the blood that he shed for his country every time we have a ceremony like this.”

Post 20 encourages anyone with flags that are tattered and torn that need to be properly disposed of them to contact them.

“If anyone in the local community has flags, all they need to do is call myself at 327-8724, and we’ll be glad to pick the flags up if they’re not able to bring them,” Coon said.