Flag etiquette ensures proper flag disposal
October 16, 2013
BAMBERG, Germany (Oct. 16, 2013) -- With U.S. Army Garrison Bamberg's closure scheduled for fall 2014, garrison officials took a closer look at flag etiquette and the proper disposal of national flags. In cooperation with the local post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, or VFW, and the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps, or JROTC, Soldiers at USAG Bamberg conducted a flag disposal ceremony earlier this month.
"As Soldiers, we treat national flags with dignity and respect," said Command Sgt. Maj. William Funcheon, USAG Bamberg's command sergeant major. "The Federal Flag Code provides rules for handling and displaying the U.S. flag and its proper disposal."
At USAG Bamberg, the national flags are flown 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The flags usually wear out after three months and need to be replaced often.
The language of the federal code makes clear that the flag is a living symbol. In accordance with the flag disposal guidance, VFW lit a large fire at Bamberg's Warner Conference Center. Three unserviceable flags, properly folded and straightened, were then laid in the flames. The attendees came to attention and recited the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by a brief period of silent reflection. The ashes of the three flags were buried at Warner Barracks.
"It was a good learning experience for the JROTC students as well as for the attending Soldiers," said Sgt. Jonathan Fulghum.
The garrison possesses only three more American flags, a stock just large enough to last through the garrison's closure date.