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Members of Reelfoot DAR chapter properly retire American flags

Members of Reelfoot DAR chapter properly retire American flags

Posted: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 8:00 pm

Members of Reelfoot DAR chapter properly retire American flags | Reelfoot Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution

Reelfoot Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution met recently at the home of regent Mary Coleman in Union City.
The meeting was called to order by Ms. Coleman. Assisted by Linda Lofton, she led the chapter through the DAR ritual. Beulah Wyatt led the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag, Ann Culp led the American Creed, Ms. Lofton led in the singing of “America”, Gloria Howell led in the salute to the Tennessee flag and Peggy Drerup led the recitation of the Preamble to the American Constitution.
The minutes of the last meeting were read and approved.
Penny Hepler read the president general’s message, which consisted of the NSDAR president’s reflections of the NSDAR’s Continental Congress in July in Washington, D.C. The message also included an update on the historical restoration of the Lay Lights in the NSDAR’s National Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The restoration is expected to be completed in the spring of 2013 at a cost of $249,000. She ended her report with a membership update, which now exceeds 170,000.
The National Defense report was given by Ann Thompson and highlighted efforts on the part of the U.S. Defense Departments to make sure residents learn all they can about the brain and brain injuries. They are working with civilian experts to develop the best prevention, diagnosis and treatment practices for traumatic brain injuries.
The Indian Minutes were read by Ms. Howell. She gave facts pertaining to the Cherokee’s fire ceremony. Fire, to the Cherokee, was considered a gift of the Great Spirit and separated man from animals. It made civilization possible. The fire of the fire ceremony could be lit only by a priest, typically a member of the Ani-Woodi clan. This fire is very sacred to the traditional Cherokee and burns constantly.
The Flag Code was presented by Ms. Lofton and provided some inspirational thoughts about the retiring of an American flag. When a flag is in such condition, through wear or damage, that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, it should be destroyed in a dignified manner befitting such a symbol. The traditional way is to cut the flag into pieces and burn it in a modest but blazing fire.
Old business and new business were addressed. Members were encouraged to register for and attend the West Tennessee Fall Workshop Aug. 11 at Northside United Methodist Church in Jackson.
The DAR ceremony to retire worn American flags was the program for the day. All members present participated as the ceremony content was read and the process demonstrated. After the colors were presented, the flag to be retired was presented to the regent. The flag was then laid on a table where the Union, the white stars on a blue field, was cut away and presented to the regent. When the Union is cut away from the flag, it is no longer considered a flag.
The stripes were then cut apart. Each strip was then laid upon a blazing fire and consumed completely while the name of each of the original 13 colonies and the year each was recognized as a colony was called out. After the 13 stripes were burned, Ms. Coleman laid the Union on the blaze to be consumed.
After the ashes cooled, they were to be placed in a container and buried completing the process. The participants then demonstrated how an individual might retire an American flag by draping the entire flag over a blazing fire and allowing it to be consumed completely by the blaze then placing the cooled ashes in a container to be buried. Individuals should take every safety precaution to prevent personal injury especially if burning a flag made of nylon or polyester.
As the fire consumed the worn and tattered material in its purifying flame, members remembered the words of George Washington when the Star-spangled Banner was first flown by the Continental Army: “We take the stars from heaven and the red from our mother country. We separate the red by white stripes thus showing that we have separated from her, and the white stripes shall go down to posterity representing liberty.”
The chapter collected approximately 30 flags to be retired, and wishes to thank all those who contributed worn flags, the Veterans Affairs Office, and Chuck Ashley for his assistance with this endeavor.
The meeting was adjourned. Those who attended enjoyed a delicious luncheon. Ms. Coleman hosted the meeting in her lovely home in a beautiful country setting.

Published in The Messenger 7.17.12

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