Cadets retire flags in proper ceremony

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flagCadets from the U.S. Air Force Academy gave a dignified retirement to an American flag last week in the first ceremony of its kind on academy grounds.

The flag that burned during the ceremony represented 647 flags that needed to be retired. The flags included 50-star American flags, Prisoner of War flags, Navy flags, one 13-star American flag and one 14-star American flag. The other flags were retired off-site at a later date.

“We did outreach to the community and we got a big response,” said cadet Jacob Cable, a sophomore at the Academy.

The cadets performed the ceremony because “it’s important. A lot of people don’t know what to do with a flag that’s ripped and beaten to the point it can’t be flown any more,” Cable said. “There’s very obvious evidence of that with the fact that we only advertised just this week and we got over 600 flags.”

The U.S. Flag Code directs people to destroy flags in a dignified manner, preferably by burning. The Veterans of Foreign Wars requested the Academy perform the ceremony.

Mike Vagle, representing VFW Post 101, said the post receives many flags that have become tattered.

“We actually got so many of them, it became too much of a job for our post to handle,” Vagle said. “I approached the cadets and they did a tremendous amount of research. Now it’s something they’re planning to do annually.”