According to tradition and the U.S. Flag Code, American flags are not supposed to be flown after they have become worn or faded. These old flags are to be "retired" in a solemn ceremony.
On Monday, Oct. 11, Vienna's American Legion Post conducted its flag retirement ceremony. Members of the post stood at attention while the flags were presented. "Comrade Commander, since they have become faded and worn in tribute of service and love, I recommend that they be fittingly destroyed," said Mike Paruti, vice commander of the post as a part of the ceremony.
"Let these faded flags of our country be retired and destroyed with respectful and honorable rites and their places be taken by bright new flags," said Bob Hatter, vice commander of the post.
The flags were then placed, one at a time, into one of two fires the legionnaires had lit for this purpose.
While this ceremony typically takes place on Flag Day, June 14, Vienna's American Legion Post had collected so many flags since Flag Day that it was running out of room to store them until next June.
The flags that the Legion has collected have come in all sizes, Berger said, some as small as the flags that were popular on cars after 9/11. "Since then, we've collected almost 700 more," said Mike Berger, post adjutant.
Over the summer, the post placed three old mailboxes around town so that people could drop off their old flags. "Those mailboxes really turned out to be great," Berger said.