More than 1,000 American flags retired

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Volunteers carefully adding donated flags to the fire. Submitted photos

Many members of Granby American Legion Shannon-Shattuck Post #182 joined with eight local service organizations to support the Fifth Annual American Flag Retirement Ceremony.

Held on the bank of the Farmington River, more than 1,000 torn, tattered and no longer usable American flags were retired. The event was hosted as a community service by Riverton Grange #169 for the entire region.

“This is the second time that American Legion Post #182 has offered to support this impactful project to retire no longer usable American flags,” said Dave Roberts, Riverton Grange President. “The Granby Legion Post helped collect used flags, helped us retire the flags in a large bonfire and offered free hot dogs to all attendees.”

This is the fifth time the nonprofit service organizations have collected used American flags to properly retire. More than 50 attendees came to observe and participate in this service. Participants included members from Riverton Grange #169, Riverton American Legion Post #159, Riverton Volunteer Fire Department, Barkhamsted Senior Center, Town of Barkhamsted, Granby American Legion Shannon-Shattuck Post #182, Lions Club of Barkhamsted, and Northwestern CT Cyber Lions and Leos Club. The ceremony was held in a large bonfire pit at the home of Nate and Karen Roberg for the fourth time.

Each solemn and dignified ceremony is held according to U.S. Code Title 36, section 176, 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.” Retiring no longer useful American flags provides a tremendous service to our community and to our nation. All organizations want to emphasize that American flags should NEVER be discarded in the trash, but should only be properly retired according to the U.S. Code.

While sorting through the 1,000+ donated flags during the perfect late afternoon weather, a 48-star American flag was found and donated to the Shannon-Shattuck Post. This flag was last flown on July 3, 1959, prior to the admission of Alaska and Hawaii as states to our union. The flag was in good condition and organizers felt it should not be retired.

Due to the demand for this service, the organizers are offering ceremonies open to the public twice per year; once around Flag Day and once around Veterans Day. Used flags can be dropped off at the Shannon-Shattuck Post #182 at 244 North Granby Road.

American flag with 48 stars, last flown July 3, 1959.