BUCKHANNON — June 14 is known as Flag Day, where Americans honor the history and what the flag represents. It goes to reason that when one of these flags has reached the end of its days that it receives a fitting send off. On Thursday, American Legion Post 7 made sure that those flags were retired properly.
A traditional flag retirement entails burning the flag in a special ceremony and following specific guidelines to ensure the flag is shown respect. The Commander of American Legion Post 7, Mary Albaugh, said the ceremony is a tradition for flags the American Legion accumulates over several years.
“We refer to our flag as Old Glory,” Albaugh said. “When her life is up by being flown on flag poles, from the sun and the weather they get tattered, torn and faded, so we collect those flags all throughout several years and then this is how we retire them.”
Albaugh has conducted two of the flag retirement ceremonies, but the American Legion has been performing flag retirements since 1919. Buckhannon Mayor David McCauley said he has attended several of the ceremonies.
“I’ve been to several of these and it’s just one of those reminders about the flag and what it means,” McCauley said. “Especially to those who have served, and not only in the military, but also our first responders, whether it’s the fire department or police department. “
The ceremony took place at the Stockert Youth Center because the American Legion wanted to teach the children the importance of honoring the American Flag. The Legion started this educational experience back in 2010 and legion member John Burgett said teaching young people is one key parts of the American Legion.
“The Legion likes to include the younger generation in anything we do,” Burgett said. “Education and including them is a pillar of the Legion.”
McCauley said his own flag probably qualifies for retirement, but he can’t bring himself to do it.
“For the three months after Sept. 11, I put my flag out everyday, and it probably needs to be retired,” McCauley said. “But I can’t bring myself to do it because it was a big deal, so mine will probably still be around when I’m gone.”
The event takes place every year and is open to the public.