Fairfax American Legion Post 177 retired more than 100 unserviceable flags on Wednesday, Oct. 13. Once a flag becomes torn or its colors have faded, it is considered unserviceable and should be destroyed, according to the U.S. Flag Code.
"We're noticing more and more unserviceable flags," said Mark Duke, post commander.
With the surge of flag buying after 9/11, the Fairfax Legion Post has noticed an upswing in the number of flags it has received for destruction, which it typically does each year around this time.
The post destroys the flags in a ceremonial fashion. At this year's event, representatives of the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Civil Air Patrol were present. An Honor Guard of the Fairfax County Police and the Kena Highlanders bagpipers also performed.
A representative flag was brought forward and inspected by post officials before all of the flags were brought outside in a procession of many of those present. "By holding a flag, you have upheld the idea of freedom," said Duke, during the ceremony.
Each flag was placed on a ceremonial sword and put into the fire individually. "It's not just a ceremony," Duke said. "It's to pay honor."