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Give Old Glory a proper goodbye

During last year's Flag Day ceremony at the Osakis VFW, Osakis Boy Scouts from Troop 426 carry a pallet of flags to a fire. The Boy Scouts were Jacob Uhl, Jason Sommars, John Ramey and Matt Ramey. (File photo)

If your American flag is looking worn and tattered, now is a good time to give it a respectful goodbye.

As part of Flag Day, Friday, June 14, the Osakis VFW Post 7902 will have a flag retirement service at 7 p.m. on the east end of the club.

The public is invited to attend and bring tattered flags which will be properly disposed. They may also drop off flags at the VFW Club.

The service will be short, approximately 15 minutes.

At last year's service, nearly 200 flags were burned, including 133 full-size American flags, 45 stick flags, eight POW flags, one auxiliary flag and one Minnesota state flag.

Members of the VFW will watch the fire and when the flags are completely burned up, the ashes will be disposed.

Displaying the flag: Dos and don'ts

The federal flag code says the universal custom is to display the U.S. flag from sunrise to sunset on buildings and stationary flagstaffs in the open, but when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed 24-hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.

Also, the U.S. flag should not be displayed when the weather is inclement, except when an all-weather flag is displayed.

Here are some other tips:

• On same staff: U.S. flag at peak, above any other flag.

• Grouped: U.S. flag goes to its own right. Flags of other nations are flown at the same height.

• Marching: U.S. flag to marchers' right (observer's left).

• On speaker platforms: When displayed on a speaker's platform, it must be above and behind the speaker. If mounted on a staff it, is on the speaker's right.

• Decoration: Never use the flag for decoration. Use bunting with the blue on top, then white, then red.

• Salute: All persons present in uniform should render the military salute. Members of the armed forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute.

• All other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart.

• Over a street: Union (stars) face north or east, depending on the direction of the street.

• Half staff: On special days, the flag may be flown at half-staff. On Memorial Day it is flown at half-staff until noon and then raised.

• Do not let the flag touch the ground.

• Do not fly the flag upside down unless there is an emergency.

• Do not carry the flag flat, or carry things in it.

• Do not use the flag as clothing.

• Do not store the flag where it can get dirty.

• Do not use it as a cover.

• Do not fasten it or tie it back.

• Always allow it to fall free.

• Do not draw on, or otherwise mark the flag.

Al Edenloff

Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  

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