Flames of Old Glory

Angie Mayes • Updated Jun 4, 2016 at 11:00 AM

Current military personnel and veterans, law enforcement, firefighters and others came together Friday evening for the annual flag retirement ceremony, which honors and pays tribute to veterans, police officers, firefighters and emergency medical service workers.


“We’ve had a lot of success doing this and have a lot of support,” said Ken Kackley with Lebanon VFW Post 5015. 

The event took place at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center and was sponsored by the Lebanon VFW Post 5015. It was open to the public. According to Kackley, all worn, torn and tattered flags were properly folded and burned, which he said is the proper way to retire an American flag.

“This is our ninth year to have our annual flag retirement ceremony, honoring veterans, law enforcement officers and firefighters,” Kackley said. “We burn the flags, which is not disrespectful and is the proper way to retire a flag.”

At the ceremony, the Mid Cumberland Young Marines Group, along with Boy Scouts and others, folded the flags the proper way. The Young Marines led the Pledge of Allegiance and then retired a flag in honor of the 13 original United States colonies “because that’s where we came from,” Kackley said.

They also retired a flag in honor of Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss, who died Thursday in a Blue Angels FA-18 jet crash in Smyrna. They then honored each branch of the service and also the law enforcement and fire department agencies. They also allowed members of the public to honor family members by retiring flags in their honor.

The Young Marines and Boy Scouts, along with veterans and members of each of the five branches of military solemnly walked the flags to the fire pit. They then saluted each flag and returned in military order.

According to information from the VFW, the flag should be folded in its customary manner. It is important the fire be fairly large and of sufficient intensity to ensure complete burning of the flag. Place the flag on the fire. The individuals can come to attention, salute the flag, recite the Pledge of Allegiance and have a brief period of silent reflection. After the flag is completely consumed, the fire should then be safely extinguished and the ashes buried.

Kackley said the VFW post received more than 300 flags this year.

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