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More than 800 US flags retired in Huntington ceremony


The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — More than 800 American flags were retired Sunday during the American Legion Post 16 Flag Day ceremony.

The flags were collected from across the community, including those collected by other posts and the Daughters of the Revolution, or DAR, and were properly retired with fire by the Sons of the American Legion after the official national American Legion Ceremony for the Disposal of Unserviceable Flags.

Trey Singer, left, of Cub Scouts Pack 36 hands over the first flag to be retired to Scott Stuff, member of the Sons of the American Legion, during the Flag Day Ceremony on Sunday at American Legion Post 16 in Huntington.
(Photo by Ryan Fischer)

“I’d rather see no flags flying than a tattered flag,” said Rob Kimball, commander of the Sons of the Legion, a group for male descendants of veterans.

For Kimball, retiring the flag properly is just a matter of respect.

“The thought of what so many people did so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have in this country – that’s the respect they deserve,” Kimball said. “I hope this pays back that debt in some small way.”

Shannon Harshbarger, post commander, said those who are not veterans might not understand why the flag is so important.

“The flag is the one thing that binds us all together as Americans,” he said. “It doesn’t matter of a nation of origin, color, wealth, education – it’s the one thing that binds us together as a country. I like to tell people I consider the flag to be the fabric of our nation. When I do school programs, that’s the term I use to make sure the kids get an idea of how important this is.”

Harshbarger said it’s also about honoring those who came before.

“My dad was in World War II, people in World War I, even the Civil War, it’s important we don’t forget their sacrifices that let us have the freedoms that we have today,” he said.

Patricia Daugherty, regent of the Buford Chapter of DAR, said it was an honor to take part in the ceremony.

The American Legion has been performing the Ceremony for the Disposal of Unserviceable Flags since 1937, though “Flag Code,” the set of rules for civilian flag courtesy, was formulated in 1923 by the National Flag Conference.

Flag Day will be celebrated nationally Wednesday, June 14.

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