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mrkstvns

The "Right Way" to retire U.S. Flag...

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1 hour ago, Saltface said:

Can we start arguing about the proper way to conduct a flag ceremony now?

This should be a much less controversial discussion, since we all know there is only ONE "right" way to have a flag ceremony....and that's whatever way I do it. Of course, everyone else MUST be mistaken...

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, mrkstvns said:

This should be a much less controversial discussion, since we all know there is only ONE "right" way to have a flag ceremony....and that's whatever way I do it. Of course, everyone else MUST be mistaken...

LOL, agreed, I can sure attest to some heated 'discussions' of just what that right way is, among unit leaders at cracker barrel. 

To me, respect is something felt in each of our hearts and minds and unlikely to be imposed from outside sources if we don't already feel that respect. 

Anyway, I admit that I hesitated to post that short video. Reading the discussion about how to retire the flag in a respectful manner just brought the image of that video back in my memory. It was, to me, more disrespectful than dumping the flag into a latrine. But that guy was not alone. There were at least two others in the same community with exactly the same display. And no one, NO ONE, in the community objected or really even made a comment that I know of. So I took the risk of making this thread controversial, but mostly wanted to give the discussion of the 'proper way to retire the flag'  a little perspective about what is respect....or not. 

Edit: I just dumped the video in the spirit of avoiding controversy.

Edited by packsaddle

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Well,

last night our troop held an outdoor Court of Honor since the weather has been lovely and the boy in charge wanted to do something different. Since I knew there would be two fire pits set up outside, I recommended to him the possibility of a flag retiring ceremony as something extra to add to the night's activities. He was clearly excited, and using a simple script I crafted from the U.S. flag code and some relevant points about the flag's symbolism, he and three other boys carried out an exceptionally dignified ceremony wherein an old, beaten-up flag (old enough that the natural fabric posed no environmental hazards) was retired with great reverence and respect. My father (a noted vocalist) even sang the words to "Taps" as the different sections of the cut-up flag were placed in the fire and soon burnt to ashes, which were then removed and buried. It was brief, simple, but powerful, and many members of the audience were visibly moved. Thanks to all whose suggestions and comments in this thread helped me formulate a ceremony that our boys will remember for a long time. 

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13 hours ago, The Latin Scot said:

... My father (a noted vocalist) even sang the words to "Taps" as the different sections of the cut-up flag were placed in the fire and soon burnt to ashes....

I bet I'm not the only person here who never even knew there WERE words to "Taps"...

I've heard it played on the bugle a thousand times, but never once do I recall hearing somebody sing to it.  That alone would have been worth the price of admission.

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1 hour ago, mrkstvns said:

I bet I'm not the only person here who never even knew there WERE words to "Taps"...

I've heard it played on the bugle a thousand times, but never once do I recall hearing somebody sing to it.  That alone would have been worth the price of admission.

And those who have heard it before couldn't sing past "Day is done, gone the sun..." before starting to mumble.

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Posted (edited)

Well then, here for the edification of all are the lyrics to "Taps." Please note I TRIED to reduce the spacing between each line, but this infernal text module forces a massive space after each paragraph and I don't know how to change the setting:

1. Day is done,

Gone the sun,

From the hills,

From the lake,

From the skies.

All is well,

Safely rest,

God is nigh.

2. Go to sleep,

Peaceful sleep,

May the soldier

Or sailor,

God keep.

On the land

Or the deep,

Safe in sleep.

3. Love, good night,

Must thou go,

When the day,

And the night

Need thee so?

All is well.

Speedeth all

To their rest.

4. Fades the light;

And afar

Goeth day,

And the stars

Shineth bright,

Fare thee well,

Day has gone,

Night is on.

5. Thanks and praise,

For our days.

'Neath the sun,

'Neath the stars,

'Neath the sky,

As we go,

This we know,

God is nigh.

Edited by The Latin Scot
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Wow!  I had no idea it went on so long either.

Guess I'll end up being one of those people Saltface describes, mumbling everything beyond "Day is done, gone the sun".

Cheers!

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On 6/6/2019 at 12:35 PM, The Latin Scot said:

Well then, here for the edification of all are the lyrics to "Taps."

I have done the first verse many times, second a few; don't think I have ever done 3 or 4.

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On 5/23/2019 at 4:17 PM, MikeS72 said:

The other thing to remember when retiring flags, particularly with younger scouts, is the hazard presented by melting and dripping synthetic fabrics.

I had a nice discussion with a fellow ASM about doing flag retirement, and I recalled this point being made here.  Unfortunately, it seems to have gotten swept under the rug, which is unfortunate in this fast-changing world we live in.

In today's world, most of the flags we display are made of synthetics (plastic).  While the flag code tells us to retire flags respectfully "preferably by burning", that causes lots of potentially toxic fumes that not only can cause health issues, but frankly, just plain smell bad.

How DO people dispose of an old flag made of synthetic material? 

I've heard that some people recommend cutting the flag in some manner and then recycling it, but this doesn't seem as dignified as burning.  I'm also worried that many recyclers don't really recycle --- they just dump in a landfill anyway, or they ship the materials oversees where an out-of-sight-out-of-mind entity throws them in a landfill. This has become increasingly problematic now that China wants its incoming "recyclable" material to be cleaner than they demanded in the past. 

Is it okay to run a cut flag through a shredder?  Would that be considered "dignified"?

Should we just accept the risk of noxious fumes and burn synthetic flags like we do cotton flags?

What's the best thing do do?

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I've noticed protesters don't seem to mind the fumes, and I've never heard an environment activist complain on CNN. 

Barry

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