American Legion Post #36 in Boothbay held its public flag disposal ceremony on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. Veterans and their families watched as Scouts presented six flags to Americanism Officer Chris Armstead for burning in the nearly 100-year-old ceremony carried out periodically in Legion posts across the country.
The Ceremony for the Disposal of Unserviceable Flags has an American Legion script and choreography. However, not every ceremony is held at the same time in the same way.
Post 36 Cmdr. David Patch said the burning process is at the discretion of the person placing them in the fire “so they don't burn themselves.” It's a practical matter more than it is any specific procedure. It's the words that are appropriate that need to be said and are important to the ceremony.”
Excerpt from Ceremony for Disposal of Unserviceable Flags:
“A Flag may be a flimsy bit of printed gauze, or a beautiful banner of finest silk. Its intrinsic value may be trifling or great; but its real value is beyond price, for it is a precious symbol of all that we and our comrades have worked for and lived for, and died for a free Nation of free men, true to the faith of the past, devoted to the ideals and practice of Justice, Freedom and Democracy.
“Let these faded Flags of our Country be retired and destroyed with respectful and honorable rites and their places be taken by bright new Flags of the same size and kind, and let no grave of our soldier or sailor dead be unhonored and unmarked.”