Coast Guardsmen assist with flag disposal ceremony on Flag Day

Members of Coast Guard Cutter Buckthorn and Sector Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., fold an American flag during a Flag Day ceremony at an American Legion post in Sault Ste. Marie, June 14, 2013. The Coast Guardsmen volunteered to assist in the proper disposal of several American flags. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Seaman Steven Strohmaier

Members of Coast Guard Cutter Buckthorn and Sector Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., fold an American flag during a Flag Day ceremony at an American Legion post in Sault Ste. Marie, June 14, 2013.
The Coast Guardsmen volunteered to assist in the proper disposal of several American flags.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Seaman Steven Strohmaier

‘And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.’

Words from the Star Spangled Banner entered the minds of active-duty Coast Guardsmen and members of the American Legion post, who participated in the proper disposal of Old Glory in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., June 14, 2013.

Members of Coast Guard Cutter Buckthorn and Sector Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., line up before starting a Flag Day ceremony at an American Legion post in Sault Ste. Marie, June 14, 2013. The Coast Guardsmen volunteered to assist in the proper disposal of several American flags. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Seaman Steven Strohmaier

Members of Coast Guard Cutter Buckthorn and Sector Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., line up before starting a Flag Day ceremony at an American Legion post in Sault Ste. Marie, June 14, 2013.
The Coast Guardsmen volunteered to assist in the proper disposal of several American flags.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Seaman Steven Strohmaier

Flag Day is celebrated to commemorate the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened on June 14, 1777. On June 14 every year, countless observances are held throughout the country to praise the great emblem.

The U.S. Flag Code outlines guidelines for the use, display and disposal of the flag. For example, the flag should never be allowed to touch the ground and, if flown at night, it must be illuminated.

Americans love their flag, using it as a symbol of freedom. They fly it continuously in public areas and on private homes. With continuous use, the flags become worn and tattered. The Flag Code states that when a flag becomes too tattered, it should be destroyed in a dignified manner, preferable by burning.

This June 14, became a special day for several members of the Coast Guard Cutter Buckthorn, a 100-foot class inland buoy tender homeported in Sault Ste. Marie, and Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie when they were invited to participate in a flag burning ceremony at the local American Legion post.

The ceremony started with a call to attention and the Pledge of Allegiance. Then a member of the American Legion post directed the ceremonial sergeant at arms to start the process. A fire was started, and the first flag was laid into the blaze.

The Coast Guard volunteers helped move numerous more flags from the basement of the post. Several flags being disposed of were used at large stadiums and needed to be properly folded before disposal. It took a crew of 15 people to fold the large flags.

“I was glad I could participate in this event and represent the Coast Guard,” said Fireman Andres Gomez, a crewman aboard the cutter.
“It was a great privilege.”

Flags can be taken to an American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars post, the Boy Scouts of America, and the Girl Scouts of America and for proper disposal.

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