Three Flag Retiring Ceremonies
Contributed by: Brian Mileshosky on rec.scouting.
1. Display the old flag, give its history, if known. Also recite
the Pledge of Allegiance.
2. Respect paid to the old flag -- read aloud "I AM OLD GLORY"
I am old glory; for more the 9 score years I have been the banner
of hope and freedom for generation after generation of Americans.
Born amid the first flames of America's fight for freedom, I am
the symbol of a country that has grown from a little group of
13 colonies to a united nation of 50 sovereign states. Planted
firmly on the high pinnacle of American Faith, my gently fluttering
folds have proved an inspiration to untold millions. Men have
followed me into battle with unwavering courage. They have looked
upon me as a symbol of national unity. They have prayed that they
and their fellow citizens might continue to enjoy the life, liberty
and pursuit of happiness, which have been granted to every American
as the heritage of free men. So long as men love liberty more
than life itself, so long as they treasure the priceless privileges
bought with the blood of our forefathers; so long as the principles
of truth, justice and charity for all remain deeply rooted in
human hearts, I shall continue to be the enduring banner of the
United States of America.
3. Explain to the ensemble what will happen next, and a little
word or two about it. Taps are hummed slowly while the flag is
cut up. The ABSOLUTE SILENCE.
4. Color Guard cuts the field of blue stars out of the flag, with
solemnity a quiet. This field of blue is put onto the fire first.
The stripes are laid into the fire when the stars are almost fully
5. There is absolute silence until the entire flag is completely
consumed by the flames.
6. Then the color guard, with meaning, says, 'OUR FLAG REST IN
Group says together: Pledge of Allegiance then sing America (my
Country Tis of Thee)
Color of the flag: Remember as you look at your Flag, which
is the symbol of our nation, that it is red because of human sacrifice.
It is blue because of the true blue loyalty of its defenders.
It is white to symbolize liberty -our land of the free. The stars
are symbols of the united efforts and hope in the hearts of many
people striving for a greater nobler America.
Hold the Flag Up: Optional - at this point, each person
in the audience or participating in the ceremony, may state what
the Flag means to them.
Sing: Another appropriate song may be sung (optional)
Procedure for Flag Burning: (a pair of scissors should
be on hand)
Take the flag and unfold. Place stars (as audience sees it) in
the upper left hand corner. (One minute of silent meditation may
be inserted if desired).
Then either cut or tear the position of the blue containing the
stars from the flag. Have one person hold the blue in her arms
until the end of the ceremony because the blue and stars is the
last part of the flag to be burned. Now tear one stripe off at
a time. burn it in the fire by laying it across the flames; not
in a lump. Burn each stripe thoroughly before tearing off the
next stripe to be burned. After all the stripes have been burned,
one at a time, then the blue and stars is ready to be burned.
BEFORE the blue and stars is spread across the fire, the blue
portion should be KISSED for respect by the person holding the
blue throughout the ceremony.
The portion is then laid, as a whole piece and not torn in any
way, across the fire and all is quiet until the last speck of
blue turns to ash.
Sing - Star Spangled Banner; or other appropriate song.
End of the ceremony should be followed by a silent dismissal.
If the flag to be burned is small or there is more than one flag
to be burned at a time, the flag may (but not necessarily advised
unless due to lack of time) be laid as a whole unit across the
fire. This can be done also if the first flag is torn and burned
as describe above, and another laid across the first one at a
Nothing should ever be added to the ceremonial fire after the
Flag has been burned (out of respect).
The next morning the scouts that actually burned the flag and
their leader will gather the ashes to be burned.
This could be included as the last step in the ceremony if the
wanted all of those in attendance to participate.
A hole is dug, the dirt placed carefully beside it and the ashes
are placed into the hole by handfuls. Fill the hole back up with
dirt, a market can be placed.
At the beginning of the ceremony the speaker should say who the
flag grommets will be given to. They are a form of good luck can
be carried or worn around the neck of the person who receives
If the ashes are neatly out, they can be carried to the burial
site in a box, if the ashes are still hot, a bucket could be used,
then place by shovels-full into the hole.
A Scout's Own could be an appropriate ending for your Flag burning
Contributed by: Brian Mileshosky on rec.scouting.
Lower the colors or unfold the flag.
Tear off stripes one at a time, (we had to cut) saying one statement
with each stripe.
Our flag has been used so much, that it is no longer a fitting
emblem to display, so we are respectfully burning it.
FIRST STRIPE: The 13 stripes stand for the original 13 colonies
Massachusetts, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut,
Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina,
Georgia, and New Jersey.
SECOND STRIPE: The white stands for purity
THIRD STRIPE: The red stands for courage
FOURTH STRIPE: "Give me liberty or give me death"
FIFTH STRIPE: "One if by land, two if the sea"
SIXTH STRIPE: We the people of the United States, in order
to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic
tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general
welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and
our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the
United States of America.
SEVENTH STRIPE: We hold these truths to be self evident that
all men are created equal. They are endowed by their creator with
certain inalienable rights. Among these are life, liberty, and
the pursuit of happiness.
EIGHTH STRIPE; Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment
of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof
NINTH STRIPE; Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom
of speech or press.
TENTH STRIPE; "Four score and seven years ago, our fathers
brought forth to this continent a new nation."
ELEVENTH STRIPE; The right of citizens of the United States
to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or
by any state on account of sex.
TWELFTH STRIPE; "Ask not what your country can do for
you, but what you can do for your country."
THIRTEENTH STRIPE; "One small step for man, one giant
leap for mankind." Each state is being represented by a star
on a field of blue, which signifies a new constellation being
As we place it into the fire, let it burn brightly and remind
us how truly our flag represents our country.
Will you please join us in saying the Pledge of Allegiance
and sing The Star Spangled Banner and then Taps.
The flag of the United States of America is an honored symbol
nation's unity, it's hopes, it's achievements, it's glory and
When the flag is in such condition, through wear or damage, that
no longer a fitting emblem for display, it shall be destroyed
dignified manner befitting such a symbol. The traditional way
cut the flag into pieces and burn it in a modest but blazing fire.
we perform this respected duty, let us reflect on the design and
meaning of our flag.
The Blue field or union is the point of honor, the upper corner
Flag's own right. The symbolism of the right hand goes far back
antiquity when it was the weapon hand. Raising the right arm free
any weapon meant peace. It became a salute, a way of giving praise
honor. The union is blue, representing the night sky with stars
forming a new and glorious constellation. There is one star for
state in our union. It is said the point of honor of our flag
from the blue clock belonging to a captain in the Continental
The stripes are symbolic of beams of morning light, rays emanating
the sun. Thirteen red and white stripes, one for each of the original
thirteen colonies. The stripes in our flag were inspired by the
rattlesnake flag flown on the ships of the Continental Fleet and
striped banner of the Sons of Liberty. Though the pattern has
the bars of shining red and gleaming white have remained. The
are alternating, seven red and six white. The red standing for
and the blood of those brave men and women who fought and died
establish and preserve our republic; the white representing the
and high moral resolve on which our country was founded.
The blue of a captain's cloak, the white of a soldier's shirt,
from a flannel petticoat of a patriot's wife. this was our flag.
is the flag that stands for honor -- your's and mine.
As the fire consumes the worn and tattered material in it's purifying
flame, let us remember 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." Thus the Stars and Stripes
became what it is; born amid the strife of battle, it has become
the standard around which a free people have fought to preserve
the greatest nation in the world.