Legion Family leads Flag Day commemorations

Legion Family leads Flag Day commemorations

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day to commemorate the adoption of the U.S. flag on June 14, 1777. And in the decades since its founding, The American Legion has led Flag Day observations in its communities across the nation.

This year was no different. Legion Family members from all over the United States, including the U.S. Virgin Islands, used the day to honor the flag and, in many cases, respectfully dispose of unserviceable flags collected throughout the year during retirement ceremonies.

The following are a few examples of those efforts. Legion posts that conducted Flag Day events are encouraged to share their stories and photos on Legiontown.org in the Rally Around the Flag section.


In Sterling, American Legion Post 20’s annual Flag Day retirement ceremony at Pioneer Park included members of Boy Scout Troop 19 and Cub Scout Troop 19, who posted the colors and then took part in the retirement ceremony. Members of the public also were invited to participate in the retiring of the flags.


In Shreveport, American Legion Post 14 conducted a flag retiring ceremony to dispose of unserviceable flags donated to them by the community. Post 14 collects the flags year-round to ensure they are disposed of in a respectful manner.

“I would hope that when people see this ceremony that it moves them, that it brings them closer together. It’s another patriotic holiday,” Legionnaire Ben Cothran said. “This is our nation’s flag. This is the banner that we all fall under, and I would hope that seeing the actual disposal process of the flags that are torn, tattered and unserviceable that it would bring people closer together.”


In Ishpeming, American Legion Post 114 hosted a flag retirement ceremony. “The honor and respect that we show the flag, it’s not just for all the good things that has happened with our nation that the flag represents,” said Timothy Walters, Post 114 and District 12 commander. “It’s also the bad things. It’s still our flag. We still show honor and respect to it, good or bad. But it’s our history. So honorably retiring a flag is showing respect to those that came before us.”


·         In Bemidji, American Legion Post 14 teamed with Elks Lodge 1052 for a ceremony that included displaying different versions of the U.S. flag from its beginning to now.

·         In Rochester, American Legion Post 92 conducted a burning ceremony to properly dispose of retired U.S. flags provided by community members.


In New Carlisle, American Legion Post 286 conducted a large flag retirement ceremony that properly disposed of between 8,000 and 10,000 flags.


·         In Corry, Elmer C. Carrier Post 365 conducted a flag disposal ceremony that included support from Boy Scout Troops 79 and 159, and Girl Scout Troop 30734.

·         In Luzerne County, Post 558’s Legion Family hosted a retirement ceremony for hundreds of flags placed in its drop box over the past year. Joining in the effort were members of the post’s American Legion Baseball team and local Boy Scouts. "It's a day to memorialize both the adoption of the flag that the country has consecrated," Post 558 Commander Carmen Pitarra said. "And the proper disposal and memorial service for flags that have to be destroyed."


In Beaumont, American Legion Post 33 and Boy Scout Troop 122 spent Flag Day retiring unserviceable flags that the Scout troop had collected through its collection box.

U.S. Virgin Islands

In St. Croix, members of American Legion Posts 85, 102 and 133 took part in a special ceremony to retire worn and damaged flags, and were joined by Auxiliary Unit 102 members.

“It is a sentimental ceremony for veterans because we fight, we bleed for that flag,” Post 102 Commander Secundino Roman-Cruz said. “Whenever we see a flag being tampered with, it is us being tampered with.”

West Virginia

In Parkersburg, American Legion Post 15 conducted a flag disposal ceremony at the post, explaining in detail the ceremony that goes with the burning of the flags.

“Being in the Legion, everyone here is pretty patriotic,” Post 15 Commander Lee Starcher said. “We do respect our flag. It is important for people to remember the significance of the flag.”


In Chippewa Falls, American Legion Post 77 and the Elks Lodge 1326 held a Flag Day event that both honored the flag and detailed its history. Unserviceable flags also were retired during the event.