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Goodbye to ‘Old Glory’

Symbol of freedom retired in ceremony

POSTED: June 17, 2009 4:00 a.m.
Photo/Elizabeth Hamilton/

Members of the American Legion Post 247 prepare nearly 100 flags for disposal during Sunday's ceremony honoring Flag Day.

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American Legion Post 247 observed Flag Day on Sunday by retiring worn flags no longer suitable for service.

  

“The flag is very special and it is important to remember how our country got started,” said Trisha Barrett, who attended the ceremony with her daughters, Kaylee and Taylor.

  

The girls helped Legion members with the dignified burning of nearly 100 old flags.

  

Barrett, who met husband Chris while both were in basic training for the Army, said she was glad their children had the opportunity to participate in such a meaningful ceremony that holds a special place for the family.

  

“In our family, the flag is an important symbol of freedom,” Barrett said. “But it is also more than just about the flag, freedom also comes from God.”

  

Jerry Grogan, commander of the local American Legion chapter, also noted the importance of the flag and the ceremony.

  

“Not only is it important to treat the flag with respect while it’s flying and when handling it, but it is equally as important to retire old flags that have been faded in service in an honorable fashion,” Grogan said.

  

“People should never forget the men and women who have given their lives so that we can have the freedoms that we enjoy today,” he added. “We never want to forget what Old Glory means.”

  

Flags burned in the ceremony were collected by the local American Legion post, the Vietnam Veterans of America Dawson County Chapter 970 and a new flag drop box outside the Dawsonville Municipal Complex.

  

With some help from local Boy Scouts, the Legion and Vietnam Veterans dedicated the drop box outside city hall on June 11.

  

Painted white with red trim, the former mailbox will serve as a collection point for old flags.

  

“Periodically, Scout groups perform flag retirement ceremonies, and flags from this box will be of good use to them,” said Wayne Watkins, local Vietnam veteran and state president of the Vietnam Veterans Association.

  

“Proper flag etiquette builds good character in kids,” he said.

 

E-mail Elizabeth Hamilton at elizabeth@dawsonnews.com.

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