American Flag retirement ceremony

CPO SELECTEES: will be lined up towards the Bon-fire to the left of MC looking across the bonfire towards genuine. Selectees will be covered so as to salute. White hat cremation follows.

MC: stands at head of fire, CPOs to his right, CPO selectees to his left… asks all to stand and explains:

The United States Code stipulates; “When the flag of our country has become worn or damaged and is in such a condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, it should be destroyed in a dignified way “. The proper way to dispose of our national emblem is through burning and burial.

We are here tonight to pay our last respects to a flag that that has weathered its time as a national symbol with love and reverence. Each stripe stands for one of the original thirteen colonies, and each state is represented by a star on a field of blue.”

MC: “Color Guard Post”.

Color Guard: Color Guard approach fire from rear of selectees with a triangular folded American Flag, walk past Selectees, stop between fire and MC. Stand facing each other. Both hold triangular folded flag up for all to see.

MC: "I am your Flag. I appear in many places. I have taken many forms and been called many names. I was authorized by congress in 1818 and have remained unchanged except to add a new star each July 4th after a new state joined the union until I reached my present number of 50."

"I am more than just red, white and blue cloth shaped into a design. I am a silent sentinel of freedom. People of every country in the world know me on sight. Many countries love me as you do. Some countries look at me with contempt because they do not allow the freedom of Democracy that I represent.

I am strong and the people of America have made me strong. My strength comes from your willingness to give help to those who are in need. You strive for world peace yet stand ready to fight oppression. You send resources and offer technology to less fortunate countries so they may strive to become self-sufficient. You feed starving children. You offer a home to anyone who will pledge allegiance to me.

Your sons gather beneath me to offer their lives on the battlefields, to preserve the Liberty I represent. That is why I love Americans. That is why I fly so proudly.

Sailors and their families are some of my favorite people. I listen to your patriotic songs. I'm there at your ceremonies and I appreciate the tender care you give me. I feel your love when you say your pledge. I notice when you salute me every morning, eve and when a-lighting the brow of the ships that protect me. How smartly you salute as I watch and I ripple with pleasure when I see you."

"Now I am tired and it's time for me to rest in Sacred Flames. My colors are faded and my cloth is tattered but my spirit remains unbroken.

As you lay me to rest, think about the 13 original colonies and the pioneers who carved a nation out of a wilderness. They risked then, and you risk today, everything, to fight for the Independence and freedom the American people enjoy today."

MC: “Color Guard, unfold Old Glory”

Color Guard: unfolds the flag slowly as MC reads OLD GLORY.
MC: I am the Flag of the United States of America - My name is Old Glory!
I fly atop the world's tallest buildings.
I stand watch in America's halls of justice.
I fly majestically over great institutions of learning.
I stand guard with the greatest military power in the world.
Look up and see me!
I stand for Peace, Honor, Truth, and Justice - I stand for Freedom.
I am confident, I am arrogant, I am proud!
When I am flown with my fellow banners, my head is a little higher, my colors a little truer.
I bow to no one - I am recognized all over the world.
I am Worshipped, I am Loved, and I am feared!
I have fought in every battle of every war for more than two hundred years:
Gettysburg, Shiloh, Appomattox, San Juan Hill, the trenches of France, the Argon Forest, Anzio, Rome, Pearl Harbor, the beaches of Normandy, Guam, Okinawa, Japan, Korea, Viet Nam, the Persian Gulf, and a score of other places long forgotten by all but those who were there with me.
I was there.
I led my Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines,
I followed them, and watched over them.  They love me.
I was on a small hill on Iwo Jima.
I was dirty, battle worn, and tired, but my Soldiers cheered me, and I was PROUD!
I have been soiled, burned, torn, and trampled in the streets of countries that I have helped set free.
It does not hurt, for I am invincible.
I have been a silent witness to all of America's finest hours.
My finest hour comes...
-- when I am torn into strips to be used as a bandage for my wounded comrades on the field of battle,
-- when I fly at half mast to honor my Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines,
-- when I lie in the trembling arms of a grieving mother - at the graveside of her fallen son or daughter.
I am proud - My name is Old Glory!
COLOR GUARD: At this point flag should be completely unfolded and waving to show the firelight through the flag.
MC: Long may I wave, dear God.  Long may I wave.
MC: Color guard, “prepare old glory”
COLOR GUARD: snaps flag and folds into a casket shaped rectangle, blue field up.
MC: As we retire this emblem of national pride that has served us so well, we fold her into a casket shape. This shape representing the burials of all of have served her in the past and befitting her final resting.
MC: “Retire Old Glory”.
COLOR GUARD: (Color guard moves towards fire and places flag reverently on fire.)
MC: As you watch me burn, do not be sad or feel sorry for me. I have had the great Honor of being your flag of the United Stated of America and the Republic for which I stand, one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all."

PAUSE: (20 seconds)

"Now I am just a memory. If there is a tear in your eye or a lump in your throat; if you felt a shiver in your spine as you watched me burn, never fear, as I will always be there when you need me. My colors will be fresh and bright and my edges will be ragged no more. When I climb to the top of the flagpole, I will wave at you and remember the love and respect that you have showed me here tonight." CARRY ON