Flag Retirement Ceremony Adds to Cultural Understanding
During a recent Flag Retirement Ceremony at Florida Prep, members of the AFJROTC unit retired 12 United States flags. On a day with blustery winds, and near-record cold temperatures, the ceremony honored our national flag with dignified retirement by burning them.
Cadet Lt. Colonel Smyrna Troncoso of the Florida Prep AFJROTC unit read aloud during the ceremony.
"This banner of freedom is worn, tattered or soiled, her broad stripes no longer a fiery red and pure white, the stars and blue background no longer vivid reminders of blue skies and a great land, of purity, vigilance, and justice. The flag has flown proudly and done its job well"
"The flag of our nation should always be strong, a vivid symbol of our land, and fly brightly in our minds. The flag is a symbol of our people, our freedom, and our strength, so it is now that we commit this flag, which can no longer fulfill these duties to the fire so that we may replace it with a new flag to properly symbolize our nation."
Following the placement of the flags into the fire, The Florida Prep Color Guard maintained a vigil over the flames until no trace of the flags remained. The ashes were buried the following day.
The 'Stars and Stripes' is uniquely American, and the respect paid to the flag on a daily basis by millions of citizens across the U.S.A.; in schools, homes, meetings, sports events, and many, many other locations, set the nation apart.
Given that support, it should come as no surprise that specific protocols exist to dispose of flags no longer in use, or past their best. But few realize those protocols actually involved burning the flag.
The United States Flag Code: Title 4, Section 8 stipulates, 'When a U.S flag is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, it should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.'
Lt. Col Dean Fitzgerald, Senior JROTC instructor at Florida Prep commenting on the ceremony said "The Flag Retirement Ceremony is a lesson in civics for all students at Florida Prep, be they American, or any other nationality."
"It embodies respect for the country, and encourages our diverse population to understand what is important to American citizens. We aim to stimulate discussion across our entire student body and that begins with the ceremony itself. Students from the USA, Turkey, Ukraine, and the Caribbean all participated and learned why it is an important part of our American heritage.
"This opportunity to share what makes our country 'uniquely American' with students from other countries is yet another reason why Florida Prep ranks so highly in reviews regarding Florida Prep's diversity. Our multi-cultural faculty and student body set the academy apart from other schools, and provide a unique learning environment across our entire curriculum", Fitzgerald concluded.