American flags retired

PARKERSBURG – Honoring the Stars and Stripes and retiring those that are no longer usable was the purpose of the Flag Day Ceremony that took place Saturday at American Legion Post 15 in Parkersburg.

Jim Viers, acting commander of the post, said the ceremony is an effort by the American Legion to educate the public about the flag and at the same time pay tribute to the national symbol. Flag Day marks the anniversary of the adoption of the flag as the national standard in 1777 by the Second Continental Congress.

“We need to educate the public and this is one way we educate and pay tribute to the flag and our country,” he said.

Viers said over the course of the year individuals bring the post flags that are no longer suitable to fly and allows the post to take care of the disposing of the flag.

“We had 10 flags to dispose of today,” he said. “These flags have flown over different places, like cemeteries, and treated respectfully.”

Viers said the ceremony has been done for the past 30 years at the post at 2505 Ohio Ave. in Parkersburg’s traffic circle.

“This is part of our American Legion community service,” he said. “This is the way we celebrate our country and it’s actually in the American Legion handbook that we do this ceremony on Flag Day.”

Viers said for a flag to be retired it has to meet certain standards.

“If it’s tattered, torn or unserviceable,” he said. “Anything that we do not think shows proper respect, we give it respectful retirement in the flag retirement ceremony.”

Viers said a few of the flags are determined to be usable and are not burned. He said they do have the ceremony at other times in a less formal ceremony.

“At times we have 40 to 50 flags to dispose of and we do it when we can do it properly or when the members can show up,” he said. “We give them a proper inspection to make sure they are not serviceable at all.”

When a person gives them a flag to retire, Viers said they have the option to order a replacement from the company from which the legion orders its flags.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day; in August 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress.