JESSUP, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Monday marks the annual celebration of Flag Day.
Many of us take great patriotic pride in displaying Old Glory but when the condition it’s in is no longer a fitting emblem for display, it shouldn’t just get thrown away. For many, honoring the flag means honoring those who fought for it.
“It shows respect for the veterans and the sacrifices that veterans have made for us,” American Legion Post 411 member Andrew Piasecki said.
Thousands of retired American flags were given one final salute Saturday afternoon. A solemn sight as Boy Scouts of America Troop 34 hosted a community flag retirement ceremony on the grounds of Jessup Hose Company Number One.
“We had continuously collected flags from the cemeteries before Memorial Day for last year and this year. We decided we had the flags and we wanted to offer a proper retirement,” scoutmaster Tony Kniolek said.
These old and tattered symbols of freedom were removed from veterans’ gravesites across Lackawanna County. Local veterans helped the Scouts place new flags there to replace the worn ones.
“If the flag is worn or faded or ripped, as the U.S. Flag Code says, when it’s no longer a symbol that you can represent, it should be properly retired, which is to burn it,” Piasecki said.
Many of the flags have been in storage for more than a year since the pandemic put large gatherings on hold. Some of the discarded flags come from residents for this traditional full ceremony, which includes color guards.
“It’s an honor for me and the rest of us guards, to be here for the burning of the flags,” VFW Post 5544 member William David Littlejohn said.
Boy Scouts of America Troop 34 will participate in another flag retirement ceremony. It’s happening June 26th which the Northeast Detachment Marine Corps league in Scranton will host.