When the United States flag (Old Glory) becomes worn, torn, faded or badly soiled, it is time to replace it with a new flag. The old flag should be “retired” with all the dignity and respect befitting our nation’s flag.
Piedmont Boy Scout Troop 65 will hold a flag retirement ceremony at the Ozark Heritage Festival. They are collecting flags that need to be retired. If you are interested in having a flag retired, contact any Boy Scout or leaders Waylon Freeze, Mike Lancaster and Beau Gooch.
The traditional method of retirement is to incinerate the flag, but this does not mean that one should simply drop the entire flag, intact, into a fire. A flag ceases to be a flag when it is cut into pieces. It is easier to completely incinerate the flag if it is cut into smaller pieces.
The retirement ceremony is a moving ceremony. If you have never seen one, you should make plans to attend the Boys Scouts’ ceremony, urges Piedmont Area Chamber of Commerce president Scott Combs. The retirement ceremony will be held Saturday evening on the festival grounds.
A flag is never torn up like an old bed sheet. It is cut up with scissors or shears in a methodical manner. The corners of the flag are stretched out and someone cuts the flag in half, vertically. Then, the two halves are placed together and cut in half, horizontally. They end up with four pieces of flag, one being the blue star field. The blue star field remains in tact because it represents the union of the fifty states, and one should never let the union be broken.
While the Scouts are performing the flag dissection, other Scouts will start and tend a medium-size wood fire. Once the flag remnants and fire are ready, Scouts will burn the flag and perform the retirement ceremony.
The Scouts will maintain a vigil over the fire until all traces of the flag remnants are destroyed. Then, the fire is extinguished and the ashes are buried.