Pine Island groups plan Flag Day events
In recognition of Flag Day in the United States, both the Pine Island American Legion and the Elks Lodge will host special events Sunday, June 14.
At the Elks Lodge, located at the island center next to Fire Station #1 on Pine Island, all are welcome to join members of the club for an afternoon of celebration. The festivities will begin with a special ritual presented by the island Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and the Color Guard from the American Legion beginning at noon.
Adults as well as children will learn about the rich history behind the flag that symbolizes our nation through this special tribute. Following the ceremony, all are invited to stay and enjoy hamburgers and hot dogs hot off the grill along with side dishes including potato salad and baked beans in a traditional community picnic outing.
The concept of Flag Day was first addressed by President Woodrow Wilson when in 1916 he issued a proclamation that officially established Flag Day as June 14. Then in August 1949 National Flag Day was officially established by an Act of Congress. While Flag Day is not an official federal holiday, some states have accepted it as official state holiday and it is observed throughout the country with a variety of ceremonies and celebrations.
One of the rules associated with the handling of the stars and stripes is how an old, tattered flag is to be disposed of. According to the Flag Code, under the heading “Respect for the flag,” it states, “the flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.”
In recognition of the Flag Code, members of the legion will hold a flag burning ceremony on Flag Day. Beginning at 7:30 p.m., at the American Legion Post 136 on Stringfellow Road in St. James City, members of the legion will ceremoniously burn tattered and worn flags. All residents and visitors are invited to bring their unusable flags to be disposed of in this proper and fitting manner.
A typical flag retiring ceremony will begin with the attendants reciting the Pledge of Allegiance followed by a reading of “I Am Old Glory” authored by Howard Schnauber. Following the incineration of the unserviceable flags, the ceremony often ends with the playing of “Taps” and later the ashes are buried with care.
Those who only fly the American flag on special occasions are encouraged to do so on Flag Day as well as other days recognized by the accepted Flag Code which states that flags should be flown on New Year’s Day, Inauguration Day, Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, Lincoln’s birthday, Washington’s birthday, Easter, Mother’s Day, Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day at half-staff until noon, Father’s Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Constitution Day, Columbus Day, Navy Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, the birthday of states and on state holidays.
Those who have American flags that are no longer appropriate for display but cannot attend the flag burning ceremony on June 14 can drop off flags to be properly retired to the American Legion Post #136, 4106 Stringfellow Road, St. James City, or call the legion at 283-4434.