Flag retirement, a solemn, patriotic event
Keith Hall’s love of the country is deep and sincere. As Commander of the American Fork American Legion Post 49, he is committed to properly retiring American flags. In April, he organized, conducted and carried out the retirement of 45 flags.
“Flags are not to be displayed if they are tattered or worn,” Hall said. “I collect flags all year round that are in poor condition.” Hall keeps the flags, and a retirement service is held on the first Wednesday of each April.
This year the retirement service was held at the Quail Cove Amphitheatre in American Fork. Hall said, “Each year, we try to get more and more families involved. It is a service that is inspiring and patriotic.”
The service begins with an opening prayer, a group of volunteers posts the colors, the Pledge of Allegiance is recited, and the National Anthem and Taps are played. This year, the “Battling Bettys,” a group of local women dressed in red, white and blue, assisted in the program. The reading of a tribute to our flag completes the first part of the ceremony. “It is important to know what our flag has been through over the years,” said Hall.
Hall said this year, the American Fork police, firefighters and workers from American Fork Hospital helped with the services. Volunteers place a large cauldron at the location where the folded flags are unfurled and placed into a fire. “We have young scout troops or other groups unfurl the flags and put them carefully into the fire,” said Hall. The ashes are collected and saved. “We bury the ashes of the flags in special places honoring veterans or others who have served our country,” concluded Hall.
Asked why he does this each year?” Hall said, “It is important to remember those who have fought and died to preserve our democracy. Too many don’t know our history and feel the love I have for my country.”