Denair Girl Scout Junior Troop 3102 received a lesson in patriotism Monday when the Denair Lions Club showed them how to properly retire flags. The troop learned how to dispose of flags that are no longer fit to fly in a ceremony held at the Denair Community Center.
“The importance of this event is that children get to learn about the history of our flag and its importance to our country,” said DLC President Joey Rocha. “This includes the dignity and respect for the flag that is maintained throughout, even in its retirement.”
Flags are retired when they become too worn and tattered to be repaired. According to Rocha, burning is the most common way to retire a flag, but must be done in a prescribed manner. First, the flag is cut into pieces. The Denair Girl Scouts cut each stripe off of the flag, then the field of stars. After each cut, comments honoring the flag were read by a Girl Scout. Each section was then burned separately. The flag retirement ceremony is often a solemn, dignified event.
The flag retirement ceremony began last year with the DLC support of the newly-formed Troop 3102. The club previously had help from the Boy Scout troop in Denair, but after the troop disbanded they asked the Girl Scouts if they would help carry on the tradition. The ceremony is now in its second year with the Girl Scouts.
The ceremony not only educates the Girl Scouts on how to properly retire a flag, but also gives the public a place to drop off flags that may need to be retired.
“A lot of people don’t even realize that there is a proper way to retire a flag,” said DLC past President Mark Swartz. “We try to get the word out that we can take them if needed.”
Community members who have a flag that needs to be retired can drop it off at the Denair Community Center, where the flags will be given to the DLC. Swartz also encourages those who have flags that are no longer in flying condition to call him at 209-765-2289 so that the DLC can come and pick them up.
“It is important for people to respect the flag and to also have an outlet where they can properly retire one,” said Swartz.