September 20, 2004

Paying my Respects

Yesterday afternoon, I was at work, and was reminded by a coworker of something that needed to be taken care of. There was talk of putting it off, but I insisted that we should take care of it right then, so we jumped on the scissor-lift, and went over there to cut it down. You see, we had an American Flag hanging just above the Garden Center gate, and it was getting threadbare.

So here comes the problem. Disposal. My cohort there at work stated that the last one that they took down they burned in a grill, and (thankfully) we had no grill to burn it on. Chris and I folded that flag up, and I took it to my car to ensure that it was taken care of with proper respect.

I've got a few pictures of the event in the extended entry if you're interested.

Here's the little pyre I built for it.

I just lit the fire here.

Got it burning pretty good here.

I don't have my uniform anymore, but I still know how to do a hand salute.

I allowed myself to take one shot of "Old Glory" on the pyre.

Here's the aftermath.

I don't know about you, but one redneck patriot in his back yard, sure beats the hell out of burning it on a grill.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at September 20, 2004 09:51 PM

Thank you.

Posted by: Tammi at September 20, 2004 10:21 PM

You did well, Johnny-OH. That grill idea is bullshit.

Posted by: That 1 Guy at September 21, 2004 02:20 AM

Thank you. My salute to you! Nice to see people still care. My mom actually has a handout on how to care for a flag. It is amazing how many people don't know what to do. Though, I am proud of ANYONE that cares enough to fly a flag or have one around. Whether they know the right way to care for it or not... at least they are showing US of A pride.

Posted by: vw bug at September 21, 2004 09:05 AM

That shadow salute picture actually made me a little misty.

Good man.

Posted by: Harvey at September 21, 2004 01:43 PM

God Bless America!

Thank you for posting this.

Posted by: KEEME at September 21, 2004 02:49 PM

Gosh, the way you lovingly folded it made my eyes well up with tears. Thansk for all the respect you showed to Old Glory.

Posted by: michele at September 21, 2004 03:36 PM

Thanks for the kind words from you all. It was a special moment that I just couldn't not share.

Back when I was in the TN 791st AFJROTC Wing, I was a member of the Color Guard before going on to the drill team. I've carried Old Glory in many a parade in this area, and it always seemed like a chore back then. Now, I recognize it for the privelage that it was. I kinda wish that I'd been able to get a group of folks together to properly pay my respects, but that wasn't an option, so I just "wung" it.

I even refolded that flag after I got it back to the house, as the corners were showing some of the stripes, and that's not the way it's supposed to be. I think it's amazing the stuff that I've retained from my high school experiences in ROTC.

It was just a 3 by 5 nylon flag, that you could buy for ten bucks at your local retailer, but that wasn't the point. It was the symbol of our country, and I'll not have it laid to rest disrespectfully.

Posted by: Johnny - Oh at September 21, 2004 10:33 PM

The advantage of burning the flag on a grill is that you can then scatter the ashes to the four winds.

When we retired an old flag this way in the Scouts, we first separated the blue field from the stripes before immolation. And then the stripes into red and white pairs with the one red stripe left over. Each section was burned individually.

We were also fortunate to have a large stone barbeque, almost a stone pyre, to burn it on.

Posted by: GEBIV at September 21, 2004 10:44 PM

Yeah GEBIV, I read a few outlines of the Scout's ceremony before I laid this one to rest. I think their ceremony is quite lovely, and I will probably donate the next flag that I need to dispose of to my local Troop. I couldn't bring myself to cut the flag up though, as I had no one else to "validate" the ceremony, and to me that just seemed like desecration.

Posted by: Johnny - Oh at September 21, 2004 10:48 PM

Well done, sir... (pardon the pun).

As a Boy Scout, I, too, had the wonderful opportunity to learn the proper procedure for retiring Old Glory.

Which makes some Republicans look really stupid when they propose an amendment to the Constitution making it a federal crime to burn the flag. Some stringy-haired hippy doing it on the courthouse steps just to get attention deserves to have his nose shoved down his throat. But a proper funeral pyre, as you've nicely depicted, is the right way to do it.

Posted by: Jeff Brazill at September 22, 2004 10:24 AM
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