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American Flag retirement ceremony a chance to honor iconic symbol of our freedom

Flag ceremony
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Col R. Jason Bailey, NCWG Commander, commits an unserviceable American Flag to the flames. Photo Credit: 1st Lt H.J. Bentley III, CAP (click image to view full size)
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6/8/2017––Sixty-five local Civil Air Patrol cadets, Senior Members and guests retired more than 50 American flags in remembrance of those who gave their all for their country. The 111th Search and Rescue Squadron hosted the flag retirement ceremony at their facility near the Charlotte Douglas International Airport on 1 June 2017.

The North Carolina Wing Commander, Col R. Jason Bailey, gathered with the 111th Search and Rescue Squadron to burn the flags - the preferred method for retiring unserviceable flags.
“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,” according to the United States Code for retiring a flag. Flag etiquette requires that when worn and tattered beyond economical repair, the most iconic symbol of freedom should not just be tossed aside. 
Retiring the American flag is a very specific process and the Civil Air Patrol cadets worked together to cut the flags and then burn them. "The flag represents our land, our people and our democratic ideas in three colors: red, white and blue. With red representing blood, white representing purity and blue representing heaven," said Cadet 1st Lt Mason Berger, Cadet Commander for the 111th. 
"When a flag is tattered, frayed and worn out, you can't just throw it in the garbage. You have to do it ceremoniously; you have to do it the right way. You can bring it to us where it can be retired, saluted and thanked for its service," said Berger. 
As the flag, folded in its customary triangle, is placed on the fire, it is customary for those in attendance to salute, say the pledge of allegiance or have a brief period of silent reflection. 
To finalize the ceremony, the ashes will then be buried with those flags from past years ceremonies.