Retire your American flags properly with Daughters of the American Revolution

An American flag waves on a front porch in Niles, MI // WSBT 22 PHOTO

Do you have a worn American flag flying outside of your house or on your loved one's grave?

It may be time to give it a proper retirement. That’s exactly what a local group in Michigan wants you to do if your flag isn't in pristine shape.

The Three Oaks chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution is collecting those old flags.

You can drop off your worn and tattered ones at Niles City Hall and the Three Oaks Library through May 15th.

If you kept yours flying during the harsh winter, you might want to take a close look at its current condition. Now that we’re onto more mild weather, it’s the perfect time to replace any damaged stars & stripes.

That includes any old flags you may find during your spring cleaning, and flags that are near graves of your loved ones.

Kathleen Alton is the Regent of the Rebecca Dewey Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She has more than 20 relatives who participated in the Revolutionary War in one way or another.

For her, the American flag is a lasting symbol of their fight for freedom so many years ago and the fight our service members are facing now.

"Our veterans and our current soldiers are very proud of the flag, of their service, and it does honor them when you have a crisp flag flying," says Alton. "It's a symbol of our patriotism, our citizenship and we should take great pride in that and many of us fly our flag - whether it's on our houses or our businesses. There is a proper way to fly their flags and dispose of them."

Alton noticed that many flags in the area - on homes, businesses or cemeteries - needed to be retired. That's why she started this flag collection.

The group is stressing that there is a proper way to fly your flags and dispose of them, and they hope this collection sparks awareness.

When you drop your flag off, you can pick up a flag code booklet. It shows how to properly fly and respect the flag.

"It is bothersome when you see flags laying on the ground," says Alton. "They should not touch the ground."

Dozens of flags have already been dropped off. Many locals appreciate the opportunity to respect and honor their loved ones.

City of Niles Employee Mary Jo Parmele put one of her old flags into the collection bin at the Niles City Hall. She's proud it will be retired the correct way.

"I have two sons that are in the service. One was in the Marines and one is in the Navy right now. My father was also in the army," says Parmele. "I'm very proud of my family and heritage and the flag means an awful lot to me."

If you are unable to get your flags to those places before the May 15th deadline – contact Kathleen Alton with the Three Oaks chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution.

If you'd like more information on this flag collection and how you can get involved visit the organization's website here.

An official date for the flag retirement ceremony has not yet been set, but Alton says it will likely be on Flag Day which is June 14th.

If you are unable to make it in time for their collection and ceremony, you can also drop your flags off at any American Legion, VFW, or Boy Scouts. Those organizations also perform flag retirement ceremonies.

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