Flag Day marked with proper ‘retirement’ for Old Glory
Popular flag disposal services for Flag Day, hosted by the Harvey-Engelhardt-Metz Funeral Home, were back for the second year Monday afternoon.
There are very specific ways a U.S. flag can be disposed of and on Flag Day, the funeral home accepts torn or tattered flags in exchange for brand new ones. Later, the funeral home properly disposes of the old flags through cremation.
“No one seems to honor Flag Day in the city, they honor Memorial Day and Fourth of July,” said Sharon Mudd, a funeral home associate. “There doesn’t seem to be a provision to retire old flags and we have a unique situation to honor them correctly.”
The funeral home was open Monday from noon to 5 p.m., but fellow associate Samuel L. Jackson said residents started dropping off their flags at 9 a.m. He said 500 new flags were ordered so they could be exchanged for tattered flags, but by mid-afternoon the funeral had run out.
Anyone who brought in a flag after the supply ran out had their names taken down. Mudd said a new flag would be delivered to them or they could pick one up at the Harvey-Engelhardt-Metz Funeral Home at 1306 Lafayette Street in downtown Cape Coral.
Keith Osborn was dressed as Uncle Sam during the flag ceremonies on Monday.
“I’ve been greeting people and showing them we are going to take their flags and dispose of them in a dignified way,” said Osborn.
Bob Rieser, honor guard captain; Denny Clark, VFW honor guard, and Anthony Alfonso, VFW honor guard, from the Veterans of Foreign Wars “Harney Point” Post 8463 led the flag retirement ceremonies.
Tim Hauck, managing funeral director, said the funeral home is happy to be a part of the respected tradition of Flag Day.
“It’s the proper and respectful way to dispose of the American flag when it has reached the end of its service life,” said Hauck.
Gov. Charlie Crist released a statement encouraging Florida residents to pay a special tribute to the flag.
“By reflecting on our rich history, we honor the American men and women who founded our great nation, as well as the service members in the Armed Forces and Florida National Guard who continue to bravely defend the spirit our flag represents,” he said.