American Flags Were Burned in Beautiful Retirement Ceremony

Chief Petty Officer Robert Terry (USN Ret.) speaks to those gathered for the flag retirement.

Chief Petty Officer Robert Terry (USN Ret.) speaks to those gathered for the flag retirement. [Photo provided by E. Ibarra]


This morning, June 16, at the Fortuna Veterans Memorial Building, military veterans and Boy Scouts gathered to perform a ceremony for numerous American Flags that were old or damaged.

Members of Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department Company One, and Fire Explorers from Loleta and Fortuna.

Members of Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department Company One, and Fire Explorers from Loleta and Fortuna.

U.S. Government regulations state, “The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.”

Members of Post 47, Troop 47 and their leaders carry out the flag retirement.

The retired flags are given to the Veterans from American Legion Post 205 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2207 throughout the year. After the ceremony this morning, the flags were burned respectfully by Scouts from Troop 47 at the Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department (FVFD) on South Fortuna Blvd.

Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department Company One assisted with the event to ensure that the flames from the flag retirement ceremony stayed under control.

Fire Explorers Dellard McKenzie of Fortuna and Isabelle Petersen of Loleta stand by to ensure that flames from the ceremony don't get out of control. Ryan Dick and Jennifer McKenzie of Troop 47 prepare to burn damaged flags.

Fire Explorers Dellard McKenzie of Fortuna and Isabelle Petersen of Loleta stand by to ensure that flames from the ceremony don’t get out of control. Ryan Dick and Jennifer McKenzie of Troop 47 prepare to burn damaged flags.

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19 comments

  • Eldon G. Whitehead

    Way to go Post 47 and Troop 47, a very honorable thing to do for our American flags that symbolizes all of the lives that was lost over the years in gruesome and costly human life battles. Proud of all of you and as a Long time Scouter, I SALUTE ALL OF YOU FOR THIS ACHIEVEMENT. CONGRATULATIONS.

    Retired District Chairman of the Eel River District.

  • Jennifer McKenzie

    Cub Scouts Pack 47 was there too. They brought 6 scouts who gave up a Saturday morning to honor our flags. Thank you to those guys!!!!

  • Sorry I don’t feel that burning a flag is ever a good idea. Mend the flag . All the flag put it away donate it never burn the flag just keeping it real

    • Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts are one of the few organizations officially sanctioned to retire flags and there is nothing disrespectful in doing so. A tattered or damaged flag needs to be replaced and retired and they are regularly dropped off at Scout offices for such ceremonies. I have been involved in several of these and they are very somber, reverent and respectful events.

  • Nevermind, I made an unecessarily negative comment over a benign event.

  • It’s kind of ironic that burning a flag can be considered either respectful or disrespectful depending on one’s perspective.

    • It depends greatly on the circumstances surrounding the burning!!! In a situation such as this, with retired flags, this is the preferred method of their disposal!!! Whereas flags burned in protest, is considered disrespectful by some!!!

    • Even though burning a flag is deeply offensive to my sensibilities, I still think that people have the right to do so. If they purchased a flag with their own money, that flag is their property to dispose of it as they see fit.

  • So its ok now to burn the flag? “Dignified way” stupid is as stupid does foerst.. [edit].. you disrespect my time given under our flag to desicrate it in a deafeating sense.. shame on you all.. semper fi!!

    • Nonsense. The military does this for themselves as needed all the time. It is done privately, so maybe that is why you were not aware of it.

  • Little drops of poison laid on someone else. Very ugly and very unnecessary. And very juvenile. I hope Kym deletes this post asap.

  • They should’ve have burn that Los Angeles Dodgers jersey ?!

  • burning nylon which is a complex plastic that creates dioxins when burned sounds smart, especially with kids inhaling the smoke.

    • Many flags are made of cotton but don’t worry, no one was downwind inhaling the smoke. It’s called common sense.

      • common sense is not common.
        “When the U.S. flag becomes worn or faded, it is important to take it down and properly dispose of it. The U.S. flag code states that the when the flag “is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, [it] should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.”[1] This can be done privately or in a public ceremony. However, because flags are made from nylon, which releases hazardous gases when it is burned, you may want to investigate other ways of disposing of an old flag.[2] With a little forethought, you can properly and respectfully retire and dispose of your U.S. flags.”

  • It’s great to see young folks learning about our nation flag and what it stands for…

  • Darn; I cannot afford to buy a flag.
    I would have given one of those a good home. I’m sad.

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