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Retiring Old Glory

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'We fly a flag every day in front of the American Legion'

By Moreland Jeff

 

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More than 100 American flags, which were worn and tattered after a long period of flying proudly, were retired Saturday morning at the Edwards O’Banion American Legion Post in Campbellsville.

Members of the American Legion, along with other guests, including the Marion County Veterans Honor Guard, gathered to provide a proper retirement for the flags.

Pat Keefe, who serves as adjutant finance officer for Post 82, said the post last performed such a ceremony about four or five years ago.

“The American Legion is a service organization for veterans, and we do a lot of things for the community. One of those things is, when people have a flag that’s tattered, torn or worn out, and it’s seen better days and they just don’t know what to do with it, they can bring it down to the American Legion,” Keefe said.

He said members of the community brought flags they had at their homes or businesses that needed to be retired. In addition, the flag flown at Post 82 was also in poor condition and needed to be replaced, according to Keefe.

“We fly a flag every day in front of the American Legion, and that flag needs to come down and be replaced,” Keefe said. “We did that as part of the ceremony, and the flag was inspected by the first vice and second vice of the American Legion. They inspected it and determined that the flag needed to be destroyed properly.”

After the inspection, the flag was escorted by a color guard to a barrel where it was prepared for its retirement by fire.

A new flag was also on hand to take the old flag’s place at Post 82.

While more than 100 flags were retired, only one was done so by fire during the ceremony. Keefe said the others would be destroyed properly at a later time.

The process is done with respect for the flag, but also for the environment. Keefe said only cloth flags would be burned, and the nylon flags, as well as any made of other materials, would be buried.

“It’s all done properly, with environmental concerns taken care of,” Keefe added.