The American flag
Last month, a group of local business and school leaders and Social Circle High School students witnessed a retirement ceremony for an American flag that had flown over the campus. The Redskins Battalion of JROTC, under the leadership of Major Mark Robinson and SSG Michael Marchese, conducted this educational ceremony, providing a lesson in patriotism and flag etiquette.
Federal law stipulates many aspects of flag etiquette, including flag retirement. The United States Flag Code states: “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.”
For this ceremony, the students had prepared the flag in advance by cutting the flag into five key pieces — the standing edge, the star, the blue field, and the two stripes. As each portion was dropped into the fire by the honor guard, a cadet shared the symbolism associated with that part — the red represents hardiness and valor, the white represents purity and innocence, the blue represents vigilance, the stars represent the 50 states, and the standard edges represent the flag, having served its useful life as a symbol of freedom. In looking around at the crowd, it was obvious that pride and patriotism are alive and well in Social Circle.
Over the years, our flag has been with those fighting for freedom in foreign countries, providing strength and hope for those who have chosen to serve their country through the military. We will have another opportunity to share our pride and our patriotism on Nov. 11, as Social Circle City Schools conducts its 15th annual Veteran’s Day celebration. This year’s program theme is “The American Flag.” With many local veterans in attendance, our students will recognize and celebrate our veterans and our country through poster displays, essays and patriotic music. Perhaps these events will inspire all of us to inspect the flags we have flying at our homes. If they are faded or torn, they should be retired properly, out of respect, and replaced.
As educators, we have a responsibility to inspire pride in this great country of ours. Many thanks to Major Robinson, Sergeant Marchese and Colonel Clay Harris for reinforcing our duty as citizens to give great respect to our flag and our country. Our American flag will forever be a symbol of freedom, hope, liberty and opportunity — fly it proudly.