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VFW post retires flags

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Photo submitted Members of VFW, VFW Auxiliary and the American Legion are pictured with Scouts of all ages, their leaders and parents, after participating together in a flag retirement ceremony.

Saturday, Sept. 24, members of VFW Post 3571 and its Auxiliary honorably retired 50 U.S. flags at Fort Uncompahgre. Post commander Corky Ware and Auxiliary president Jennifer Wright directed the explanation of the flag retirement process to the invited guests -- nearly 60 Boy and Girl Scouts, their leaders and parents, and members of American Legion Post 65. This somber retirement is not a public ceremony, but a dignified and final honor for the symbol of the United States of America. Post 3571 uses the annual flag retirement ceremony to help teach Delta area Scouts the basics of the United States Flag Code, including the final burning and interment of U.S. flags that are no longer suitable for service. This retirement procedure has been used by the U.S. military for over 200 years.

The Flag Code, under title 4.13 of the United States Code, 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."

After a prayer, recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, and demonstration of the proper method of folding a United States flag, the Scouts assisted the veterans in the final retirement of the colors of their nation. All present had time to reflect on the status and honor due the living symbol of the United States of America as the flags were "laid to rest" accompanied by the playing of "Taps," the traditional end of a military funeral ceremony.

The members of VFW Post 3571 and its auxiliary wish to thank the Scouts, their parents and leaders for their participation and express their gratitude to Chris Miller, executive director of the Interpretive Association of Western Colorado, for allowing the use of Fort Uncompahgre for this hallowed event.

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