Beaufort groups holding flag retirement ceremony on Flag Day

mmcnab@islandpacket.comJune 12, 2014 

FILE: Beaufort's Aliyah Jenkins, 3, places her hand over her heart while the crowd recites the pledge of allegiance on June 15, 2012, at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park during the 2012 Flag Day celebration sponsored by the Beaufort Assembly of the Knights of Columbus.

SARAH WELLIVER Buy Photo

While America commemorates Saturday's 237th anniversary of the adoption of the Stars and Stripes as the U.S. flag, several Beaufort groups will be retiring old and worn ones.

The Disabled American Veterans chapter, the Exchange Club of Beaufort and a Beaufort Boy Scout troop will participate in the retirement ceremony, which will begin at 10 a.m. on Flag Day in the parking lot of the Beaufort Plaza Shopping Center, according to DAV member Ron Voegeli.

The Beaufort Fire Department will set up a burn barrel in the parking lot to properly dispose of the worn flags, Voegeli said. Under the U.S. Flag Code, worn flags must be "destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning."

Voegeli said the flags will be unfurled by the Boy Scouts and brought to the barrel, where adults will lower the flags into the flames. Before the flags are put in the barrel, a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance will be read, in line with the customary retirement ceremony, he said.

Voegeli said most people know American flags have to be burned, but don't know the rest of the process, like the Pledge of Allegiance or the burial of the ashes.

Collections at local fire departments and the Beaufort National Cemetery brought in about 100 worn flags that will be retired Saturday. Worn flags will also be accepted between 9 and 10 a.m. at the parking lot before the ceremony.

Voegeli said the brass grommets used to attach flags to flagpoles will be removed from the ashes, and each Boy Scout will receive a grommet as a keepsake.

Follow reporter Matt McNab at twitter.com/IPBG_Matt.

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