Although at times the sight of a tattered Old Glory may have rallied troops in battle, etiquette calls for tattered flags at buildings and homes to be retired in a timely and respectful manner.
Friday, is Flag Day and Athens Boy Scout Troop 343 along with the St. Edward’s Catholic Church Knights of Columbus Level 4 will gather for a flag retirement ceremony at Central Park behind the Central Fire Station. The two organizations invite the public to come in support of the observance.
“I believe we retired approximately 900 flags last year,” Assistant 4th degree Knights of Columbus Color Corps Commander Doug Johnson said. “They came in various sizes like 3 by 5 feet to 15 by 20 feet.”
The Boy Scouts and Knights will be in full uniform for the observance. The Athens Fire Department will be present to insure safety.
The local boy scouts began the Athens tradition of retiring the flags following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on 9-11.
According to the United States Flag Code, “there are specifications on how the symbol of freedom, innocence, and unity should be treated. Also known as retiring the flag, it is important to regularly get rid of torn ones.”
The Code states that if the flag is not in good enough condition to represent our country, it should be taken down and destroyed. The manner recommend is burning.
In the traditional ceremony, each flag is cut into sections before it is placed in the fire. The blue-star section which represents the union of the 50 states, is not to be broken by the cutting process. Once they'e cut, the flags will be placed in the flame and all remnants destroyed.