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Nonprofits: American Legion sets up flag receptacle near Vets Hall

By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
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Give your tattered and worn American flag a proper send-off by retiring it the correct way. Lincoln residents can turn their old, worn out flags by dropping them off in a receptacle in front of the Veterans Hall on Fifth and E streets, according to American Legion Post 264 commander John Perkins. Perkins said the permanent waterproof receptacle has been placed in front of the downtown hall for residents to drop their old flags in. The collected flags will be retired the Saturday after Flag Day, which is June 14, according to Perkins. “The American Legion has a regular ceremony that is all spelled out. The ceremony starts and then, eventually, we get to burning the flags, which are burned one at a time,” Perkins said. Last year, 280 flags were collected and retired this way, according to Perkins. He said the retirement is as close to Flag Day as possible. “We feel that’s when it should be done, around Flag Day, to call attention to the flag and what it means,” Perkins said. Sam Silvas, the post’s adjutant, said Flag Day is important to recognize “because it’s the flag of our nation” and also said why it’s important to place the flags in the new receptacle. “It makes it legal for you to get rid of your used flag and you can drop them off at any time,” Silvas said. “This is the proper way to do it.” So when is it time to retire a flag? “If it is no longer respectable. Sometimes they get frayed or are out in the sun too long. They get stained or they get wet for a time,” Perkins said. “Just like everything else, they get old.” The flags are retired through a ceremony “the way it should be done according to the military books,” Perkins said. “I don’t think they (flags) have the respect they had 50 years ago,” Perkins said. “We try to retire as many of them as we can to perpetuate the respect there should be for the flag.” The Lincoln News Messenger profiles a nonprofit organization every week. If you would like to see an organization featured, please call 774-7967 or e-mail stephanied@goldcountrymedia.com.