Northampton Public Schools Superintendent Blog

Veterans Council of Northampton to Host June 12 Flag Ceremonies

Posted on: June 7, 2011

© Robert Pernell

NORTHAMPTON– The Veterans Council of Northampton will honor the nation’s flag Sunday, June 12 at 3 the Elks Lodge 997, 17 Spring St., Florence.

American flags at the Sunday event will be properly retired in commemoration of National Flag Day, on June 14.

The public is invited and encouraged to attend. The Sunday event was scheduled to best accommodate families and encourage as many young people to attend, said Gerry Clark, president of the Veterans Council of Northampton. The Veterans Council are organizing the event.

“We hope to remind city residents, especially young people, of what our flag symbolizes and why we honor the flag not just on Flag Day but on every day of the year,” said Charles Coleman, a council member and chairman of the event. Coleman said the event is the first Veterans Council consolidated event scheduled inNorthampton.

Participating in the ceremony of retiring the flags are Veterans Council of Northampton members from the Elks Lodge 997, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8006, and American Legion Post 28.

The ceremony will also include Boy Scouts from Troop 109 in Florence who will present flags from different eras of American history during the ceremony.  A narrative history of each flag will then be read.

The ceremony will also feature remarks by Gerry Clark, Veterans Council president; a proclamation read by Northampton Mayor Claire Higgins, marking Flag Day from the City of Northampton; the pledge of allegiance by Charles Coleman; the national anthem sung by George Murphy; and an invocation from David Whiteley, Northampton Veterans Affairs Medical Center chaplain,

Following the ceremony, a second ceremony will be held for the respectful retirement of old or worn flags.

“The American flag is symbolic of our independence as a nation and the freedoms we hold dear and should always be held in the highest of regards,” said Tim Daley, a Veterans Council member, representing the American Legion.  “Veterans have died in service to our country and gave their lives for our country and our flag. Flag Day is a day for all Americans to honor and show respect for our flag and therefore to show respect to our great country.”

The Veterans Council also calls on all residents and businesses to display the American flag on Sunday, June 12, on the day of the event, and on Flag Day, June 14, in recognition of the national Flag Day observance and to also show unified support for military service members.

“We would love to see every business and home display theU.S.flag in solidarity of our service men and women in uniform and to show our pride in our flag and our nation,” said John Glenowicz, Exalted Ruler of Elk Lodge 997.

The council encourages residents to bring old, worn flags to the American Legion Post 28, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8006, or the Elks Lodge 997 where they will be collected for the retirement ceremony.

A flag retirement site will be a circular area with a fire pit in the middle to conform to the United States Flag Code, which 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.”

Following the ceremony, refreshments will be served.

The council also uses this occasion to remind residents of the basics in displaying the American flag:

·     The flag is normally flown from sunrise to sunset.

·     In the morning, raise the flag briskly. At sunset, lower it slowly. Always, raise and lower it ceremoniously.

·     The flag should not be flown at night without a light on it.

·     The flag should not be flown in the rain or inclement weather.

·     After a tragedy or death, the flag is flown at half staff for 30 days. It’s  called  “half staff” on land ,and “half mast” on a ship.

·     When flown vertically on a pole, the stars and blue field , or “union”, is at the top and at the end of the pole (away from your house).

·     The American flag is always flown at the top of the pole. Your state flag and other flags fly below it.

·     The union is always on top. When displayed in print, the stars and blue field are always on the left.

·     Never let your flag touch the ground, never…period.

·     Fold your flag when storing. Don’t just stuff it in a drawer or box.

·      When your flag is old and has seen better days, it is time to retire it. Old flags should be burned or buried. Please do not throw it in the trash.

For more information about the June 12 ceremonies, contact Norbert Rieke, Veterans Council secretary, at (413) 587-1299.

ABOUT THE VETERANS COUNCIL OF NORTHAMPTON: Consisting of representatives from 14 veteran and civic organizations, the council coordinates veteran activities in Northampton and provides a forum for veteran organizations to share information and raise issues leading to the betterment of the Northampton veteran community.

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