Flags retired on National Flag Day - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Flags retired on National Flag Day

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By Delivrine Registre - bio | email

PLAINS, GA (WALB) - In honor of flag day, a flag retirement ceremony was held in Plains. At former President Jimmy Carter's boyhood farm, old flags were burned while park rangers celebrated the meaning behind the red, white and blue.

Smoke billowed as flames burned through white stars from tattered flags. "I believe that the ceremony is very beautiful and respectful. And hopefully everyone will feel that way when they see it," said Park Guide, Kevin Alexander.

13 red and white stripes represent the the 13 colonies that originally constituted the United States of America. "The holiday was established to honor the birthday of the flag, and the adoption of the Continental Congress on June 14th, 1777."

The stars represent the 50 states of the Union. "There were approximately 30 flags including three State of Georgia flags. And they mostly came from the City of Plains."

And though this is how they chose to retire these flags, it's not the only way. "There is no set ceremony as established by Congress. They just prefer it be done in a diginified manner, and perferably done with fire."

Many use the ceremony to also honor those who have fought for our freedoms. "The ceremony and respecting of the flag honors our armed forces while we are in this current conflict and even those who have served in the past."

But no matter how it is done, the common thread that holds this ceremony and these flags together is respect.

"Out of respect to the flag we don't want it to be flown as worn, torn or dirty. We want to keep it in as pristine shape as possible. We fly them every day."

Respect represented by the burning flame of this fire and that of our country. Congress established June 14th as Flag Day in August of 1949.

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