American Legion Post Retires Flags with Respect

American Legion Post Retires Flags with Respect

Local Post sponsors yearly ceremony to dispose of American flags
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) When a U.S. flag becomes torn and worn, it's no longer suitable for display.

At that time, it's proper tradition to have it retired.

Veterans at the American Legion Post #359 in St. Joseph are retiring U.S. flags with respect and honor.

"Us veterans consider the flag like the constitution. It's a living, breathing part of us," said Post Commander Bernie Swartz.

The local post sponsors a flag retirement ceremony once a year in St. Joseph.

"It's moving, real moving. I'm on the firing squad too where we do the salutes for the fallen veterans. It's very humbling, very moving," Swartz said.

There is a special protocol for the retiring and burning of an American flag. Some veterans say it's giving the flag its due respect that many others are lacking.

"The biggest part of them don't respect it too much. See them with clothes on and disposable, throwing them in the trash," said Field Squadron Captain Robert Beaver.

More than just cloth, Swartz says the U.S. flag represents those who have sacrificed for the nation. He thinks that because of recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, patriotism is up.

"People come home from Vietnam, they didn't get a very good shake out of it. Now it's kind of a resurgence of veterans and things like that," Swartz said.

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