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History of the American Flag   Flag Etiquette   Flag Procedures    Flag Retirement Ceremony   Saluting

Tonight we honor the symbol of our American freedom, the American Flag as we retire her from duty. Please join me in the pledge of allegiance.

Recite the pledge:

Chaplain bless the flags to be retired thusly:
"Almighty God, Captain of all hosts and Commander over all, bless and consecrate this present hour. We thank Thee for our country and its flag, and for the liberty for which it stands. To clean and purging flame we commit these flags, worn out in worthy service. As they yield their substance to the fire, may Thy holy light spread over us and bring to our hearts renewed devotion of God and country."

The flag, otherwise known as 'Old Glory' the 'Stars and Stripes' or the 'Star Spangled Banner' represents the land, the people, the government, and the ideas of the citizens of the United States of America. In 1942, congress passed the first U.S. code, which provides basic standards for honoring and presenting our flag. There is no set method for the retirement of the flag but it is generally known and strongly suggested that if the flag no longer adequately represents America that it be retired, preferably by burning. This that we have
done and that we are about to do is 'out of our utmost respect and undying honor' for the flag.

In 1782, the Congress of Confederation recognized the meaning
of each color on the flag.

The RED stripes symbolize hardiness and courage; the hardiness of the early pioneers, the courage of the common working man. As we retire the red colors, let us remember those who came before us.

(Place the red stripes on the fire - pause and let them burn for a short time before proceeding)

The WHITE stripes signify purity and innocence; the purity of the idealists who believe that each person is a child of God, and the innocence that one strives for in their life. As we retire the white colors, let us remember those who care for us and protect us from the enemy.

(Place the white stripes on the fire - pause and let them burn for a short time before proceeding)

The BLUE field is indicative of vigilance, perseverance, and justice; the vigilance to protect man's freedoms, the perseverance that rejects all defeat, and the justice, the goal of free men everywhere. The stars on the field of blue embrace the fifty states as one, unified for the good of Mankind and Country. As we retired the blue colors let us ponder the future and what it holds.

(Place the field of blue on the fire - pause and let them burn for a short time before proceeding - add the threads and the brass pieces)

I am the flag that stands for the greatest nation on earth. I am no more than what you believe me to be, and I am all that you believe I can be. I am what you make me and nothing more. As long as men cherish liberty more than life itself, I shall continue to be the enduring banner of the United States of America. Look at her with renewed allegiance, honor her, respect her, and defend her.

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 one dishonor our flag.o