waving American flag

Joplin’s American Legion Post 13 will hold a flag retirement ceremony at 5 p.m. Monday at Memorial Hall at Eighth Street and Wall Avenue. Courtesy | FreeImages

Monday is Flag Day, and Joplin’s American Legion Post 13 will hold a flag retirement ceremony at 5 p.m. at Memorial Hall, located at Eighth Street and Wall Avenue.

The ceremony invites the community to gather to burn their worn-out flags.

“There will be a brief ceremony at the beginning; then we will care for all the flags we receive,” said Ralph Green, with Post 13, in a statement. Legion members and Boy Scouts will be on hand to assist.

Flags needing to be burned can be dropped off in advance in collection barrels on the first floor of Joplin City Hall, located at Sixth and Main streets, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.

To know if a flag needs to be replaced, check to see if it is showing age from the weather, is tattered from the wind or is faded from sunlight. It takes an average of four to six months for a flag to need replacement, said Patrick Tuttle, vice commander of Post 13.

The recommended method for disposing of a retired U.S. flag is burning. The burning of the flag can be viewed as sacrilegious if done improperly or as an act of violence, but a flag retirement ceremony is the proper method of disposal, according to the American Legion.

“Burning is the proper way to dispose of retired flags, but it doesn’t end there,” Green said. “Caring for the ashes and respectfully burying them is part of the process too.”

Flag Day commemorates the June 14, 1777, adoption of a resolution by the Continental Congress that declared the U.S. flag would be “of 13 stripes of alternate red and white, with a union of 13 stars of white in a blue field, representing the new constellation.” A flag of this design was first carried into battle Sept. 11, 1777, in the Battle of Brandywine, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Presidents Woodrow Wilson, in 1916, and Calvin Coolidge, in 1927, issued proclamations asking for June 14 to be observed as the national Flag Day, but it wasn’t until Aug. 3, 1949, that Congress approved the national observance and President Harry Truman signed it into law, according to the VA.

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