Operation Old Flag
STORY AND PHOTOS BY ALLAN PERKAL
On October 12 Asheville, North Carolina, Chapter 124 held its first Operation Old Flag retirement ceremony at the historic City of Old Fort’s amphitheater at the Mountain Gateway Museum and Heritage Center.
According to the U.S. Flag Code, the flag, “when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem of display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.” The chapter collected old tattered, torn, and frayed flags from Asheville’s twelve fire stations, a local American Legion post, and from private citizens.
Chapter member David Hart organized the event with the support of Terrell Finley, the director of the Mountain Gateway Museum, and Mayor Garland Norton of Old Fort.
The event was publicized on local TV and radio stations and in an article in the Asheville Citizen-Times. The flags were escorted to the amphitheater by twenty-five members of the Mountain Patriot Guard.
The chapter sponsored many activities that day. Music was provided by a local bluegrass band, Common Ground. At dusk the retirement ceremony began with narration provided by North Carolina State Sen. Ralph Hise, Jr.
The Chapter 124 Honor Guard escorted a ceremonial flag to the front of the burning pit. First the stars were cut and removed from the flag, then the stripes were placed in the fire. The remaining flags were then disposed of. As the fire burned, John Crom played Amazing Grace and Taps on his bagpipes.
As darkness settled in and the flags continued to burn, those attending witnessed a solemn, dignified ceremony that truly honored the American flag.
Email Chapter 124 Vice President Allan Perkal at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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