PIQUA — When a U.S. flag becomes worn, faded, tattered, or soiled, it is usually retired and replaced with a new flag. There are several ways to respectfully dispose of the stars and stripes without showing disrespect, with the most common method being burning it during a special ceremony.
VFW 5434 out of Union will conduct a proper flag retirement burning ceremony from 2-4 pm. Saturday, June 16, at Piqua Harley-Davidson, located at 1501 E. Ash St. in Piqua.
Flag collection begins at noon, with the burning ceremony starting at 3 p.m. The public is invited to bring flags for a retirement ritual conducted by by Angela Wood Swartz, commander of VFW 5434 and a Miami County native.
Swartz served in the U.S. Navy as a Seaman, Personnelman Striker (PNSN) and was stationed in San Diego and Guam aboard the USS Holland AS-32. Swartz was deployed to Hong Kong, Korea, Japan and Singapore and completed her active duty service in 1994.
She joined the VFW Post 5434 in 2010, serving as the post adjutant and post chaplain before taking office as commander in July 2017.
“I was honored when asked to perform the flag retirement ceremony at Piqua Harley-Davidson,” Swartz said. “As a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, I must continue the VFW’s mission to serve our veterans, the military and our communities. Having an open-to-the-public flag retirement ceremony is not only a very patriotic event, it is also a historical and an educational event for everyone.”
During a retirement ceremony, the flag is folded in a special manner that ends when the flag is a triangular shape with only the blue field and stars showing. Each fold of the flag has a specific meaning. For instance, the first fold of the flag is a symbol of life, while the final, or 13th, fold is a reminder of the nation’s motto, “In God We Trust.”
For a complete list of the meanings of each fold, visit www.usflag.org/foldflag.html.
In addition to the flag retirement ceremony, there will be food trucks on site and Buckeye Bulldog Rescue, a non-profit organization specializing in English and French bulldogs, will be on hand with dogs available for adoption.