Local veterans pay tribute to the Red, White and Blue. American Legion Post 575, in Lubbock, took time Saturday to respectfully retire 50 American Flags from service. And they did it with a time honored tradition that dates back to the earliest days of our country, respectfully burning those 50 flags.
"It goes all the way back to when we got started in this nation. It's very important," Retired 1st Sgt. Robert Bland said.
Bland served in The Korean Conflict as a Marine.
Bland added, "It's a ceremony that we like to do at least once a year and preferable pretty close to flag day."
Some may think the burning of an American Flag is wrong, but according to the United States Flag Code and each man in attendance Saturday, quite the opposite is true.
Bland said, "Our flag has a wonderful history. A proud history. That's why we feel so much pride and retiring it when it needs to be retired."
The U.S. Flag Code says:
"The Flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem of display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning."
Bland said, "I feel we owe that to our comrades that have fallen in combat. Also our veterans that still today are working to make America strong."
But before a ceremony like this, several things need to happen. A flag must be inspected to assure it's no longer serviceable.
American Legion Commander Joe Kelly said, "We retired one today where the stars were all blown off it."
Then a prayer is said for all veterans and all Americans. Finally, like what happened in Saturday's ceremony, the flag is retired.
Bland said, "It's quite a procedure and we don't just let the ashes linger in the barrel if there's anyway we can avoid it. They need to be properly buried."
And every flag - from the largest to the smallest should be retired properly.
Kelly said, "They can bring flags anytime they want all year long. We collect flags from local residents, from local businesses. We've had Texas Tech bring flags out."
Bland said, "A feeling of a great deal of honor and pride. It's our nations colors."
And that national pride is why Bland has been involved in ceremonies like this for more than 20 years.
|Story of the Pledge of Allegiance|