Masons Perform U.S. Flag Retirement Ceremony
On Monday, May 20, 2019, the Members of Oxford Masonic Lodge at 22 Mount Pleasant St. Oxford, MA held a public “Flag retirement” ceremony. The ceremony began with The Pledge of Allegiance, and was performed by Oxford’s Boy Scout troop 147 under the guidance of Mike Zolstat their Scout Master and Donald E. Almstrom, their Merit Badge councilor. Mr. Almstrom is a Past Master of Oxford Masonic Lodge.
Prior to the Ceremony, the attendees enjoyed a spaghetti and meatball dinner, with proceeds donated to the Boy Scout Troop.
The United States Flag Code states, “The US flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem of display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning”. According to the US Flag Code, it must be done with dignity.
This simple ceremony is appropriate for use with Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Freemasons, and other organizations who desire to formally discontinue the use of worn US Flags. It is a dignified ceremony and participants and guests are asked to remain quiet and respectful during the entire event. It is a brief formal ceremony which was conducted as follows:
Oxford Masonic Lodge performed the flag retirement ceremony, along with Boy Scout Troop 147, and the general public, demonstrating how to retire US flags which have become too worn for service.
Participants attended for the purpose of properly disposing of their US flags that were no longer suitable for display, in a safely prepared fire, in a permitted location, with fire-fighters in attendance to perform their work in event of an emergency. The Ceremony included descriptive formal presentations by participants: “We have come together to dispose of United States flags which are no longer serviceable. These flags have served as a reminder of our nation and those who have defended our freedom, and they have served us very well.” The United States Flag Code states: “The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem of display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.”
Scouts brought the flags forward, unfolded and held them so they were properly displayed to the audience. Guests joined in the Pledge of Allegiance. The Scouts properly folded the flags and guests were asked to maintain a respectful silence as the flags are retired.
The flags were carefully placed in the fire, while the audience waited in silence until the flags were completely consumed by the fire.
A leader thanked the attendees for joining in this solemn ceremony, and ended the event with “God bless America!”