The proper way to dispose of the American flag is through a retirement ceremony, and together American Legion posts from Bel Air and Edgewood conducted such a ceremony Saturday, honorably discharging more than 300 flags.
After collecting flags that were left at the flag collection boxes placed at Bel Air American Legion Post 39 on Hickory Avenue and the Patrick Dailey-Mark Logsdon Memorial Post 17 on Edgewood Road in Edgewood, commanders and representatives from both posts conducted the flag retirement ceremony Saturday at the McComas Funeral Home Memorial Center in Bel Air.
A small group of folks from both Legions were on hand, as officers with Post 17 and the Color Guard from Post 39 performed the brief ceremony. McComas Funeral Home representatives joined them.
The 312 flags collected were opened and stacked on top of each other. One memorial flag was properly folded by the color guard and inspected by officers and placed on top of the others. Veterans stood at attention and saluted as operator Marlin Mills sent the flags into the cremation furnace for incineration.
The ash will be recovered and prepared to be spread at a later date around a flagpole and Wall of Honor area planned at the McComas Funeral Homes offices on Route 7 in Abingdon.
“As part of our expansion at the Abingdon office we will be constructing a Wall of Honor with a flag pole to honor not only veterans but first responders, law enforcement and others who have served. The ashes from the flag ceremony will be placed in repository there,” Howard K. McComas III, senior funeral director, said.
“When we are able to and with the family’s permission, a flag will be cremated with a veteran to show the proper honor to both the flag and the veteran,” McComas said. “We’ve had so much of a response after the introduction of the flag collection service at the legions that it allowed us to do the ceremony Saturday in conjunction with those from both the legion posts.”
The flag retirement program was started through a collaboration with the local American Legion posts and McComas Funeral Homes.
Since last summer, both Bel Air Post 39 and Edgewood Post 17 have had flag collection boxes displayed in front of their buildings where members of the public can deposit used American flags for proper disposal.
For more information on the program, contact either Legion post or McComas Funeral Homes.