On Oct. 14, fourth graders from Nisswa Elementary School in Minnesota made the annual walk from school to American Legion Post 627 for a flag etiquette program. The posts color guard walked with the kids from school for the outdoor program, which is a staple on the principal’s agenda every year.
“It’s a special event that they really look forward to every year,” said Post Commander Susan Edwards. “They get to learn something. It’s really well received. The teachers like it.”
The post conducts a flag retirement ceremony in conjunction with the flag etiquette program to educate the youth about the proper disposal of unserviceable flags, how to fold a flag, what the flag means, and how to respect the flag.
“We tell them we are not burning the flags in protest. We are burning the flags so they don’t end up in the landfill and disrespected,” Edwards shared. “We tell them that the flag has been a beacon for our city and our community in some way and deserves to be honorably retired and we do that by burning.”
Edwards said the kids also learn how to approach a business or individual when the flag flown needs to be retired.
The program is normally held inside the post home where the kids watch a flag video, receive a flag coloring book, have snacks, and fold a flag with Legionnaires. But since the pandemic, the event is held outside.
Edwards said she enjoys hosting a flag etiquette program for the fourth graders because “they’re bright little faces are absorbing knowledge. If you get them young and you give them a positive example, they will remember this for the rest of their lives. They’ll say, ‘When I was in fourth grade the Legion taught us about the U.S. flag.’ You reel them into patriotism.”