El Paso, TX (U.S. Army) — As the skies paused from watering the desert, a gentle breeze wafted in and elegantly outstretched an American flag as it proudly waved to start the evening’s patriotic ritual.
Paso del Norte American Legion Post 58 hosted its annual ceremony for the disposal and retirement of unserviceable flags at their northeast El Paso post June 14.
In accordance with American flag etiquette, when a flag is worn to state that it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of the United States, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner.
Tears, stains and fading are a few indicators that can make an American flag unserviceable.
The ceremony was conducted by post officers and assisted by Boy Scout Troop 213. It began with the recital of the Pledge of Allegiance as part of the nation’s observance of Flag Day and the 238th birthday of the U.S. Army with the playing of the Army song.
“Post 58 has been performing the flag disposal ritual for about 20 years,” said Renslar Keagle, a Post 58 officer and retired sergeant major. ‘We also participate in the National Pause for the Flag.”
In addition to hand salutes rendered by all in attendance to the burning flag, “Taps” was played to signal the end of the ceremony.
“The playing of ‘Taps’ adds a finality to the ceremony,” said Susanne Cowan, a retired teacher. “Then when you stop and think of the history behind it, it makes you proud to be an American.”
In addition to sharing Flag Day history with the community, Post 58 is involved in educational and scholarship programs that focus on making youth better citizens.
To learn more about services and activities offered by Paso del Norte American Legion Post 58, visit www.txlegionpost58.com .