JOPLIN, Mo. — Today, Flag Day, and Joplin’s American Legion Post-13 honored Old Glory this evening.
In fact, a number of them.
Tonight, the legion hosted a flag retirement ceremony. It’s a tradition the Joplin post has had since it started more than 100 years ago.
“It’s a way to show the respect for a flag, and to make people understand that when a flag gets tattered it should be taken down, and a new one put up, and the old one formally retired,” said Bob Harrington, Commander Of American Legion Post 13.
Tuesday night, American Legion Post-13 retired more than 100 flags in the front of Memorial Hall.
“One of the problems we run into is many of the flags here are polyester or nylon. Typically, what you would do, you would burn a cotton flag and bury the ashes. Plastic or nylon just melts and doesn’t go back to dirt, it just stays there. What I’ve ended up doing is taking all the flags we collected here and cut them into strips so they burn faster and easier for us to do that,” said Harrington.
Before retiring the flags the legion performed a three-volley salute and played Taps.
“They call it a solemn occasion because it is. This is important we honor our country we honor everybody that has fought and served under the flag for that flag. It’s important to our country it’s important to Joplin,” said Mayor Douglas Lawson, Retired Navy Veteran.
Veterans stopped by to drop off an old flag and stay for the ceremony.
“It’s such an honor to be able to serve our country and people here. It’s not done out of selfishness or wanting to be a showoff or anything, just to serve, and to honor those men who have served and do serve every day to lay it all on the line not knowing how the day is gonna go,” said Bruce Alan Woods, Army Veteran.
Legion members will bury the ashes of the flags once they cool.
Anyone with old and tattered flags can drop them off at City Hall.