American Flag Retirement Program - Howard County, Maryland
The American Legion Post #156 in Ellicott City started the ball rolling in the fall of 2015 when our Post Commander noticed American Flags being disposed of unceremoniously at the Alpha Ridge Land Fill. He recovered as many flags as he possibly could for proper retirement in accordance with The United States Flag Code, Title 4, Section 8k which states-“The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem of display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.” The matter was taken up to the Howard County Veterans Counsel and County Executive Allen Kittleman helped move forward the idea of placing receptacles specifically for the collection of worn American Flags at the Alpha Ridge Landfill. The first container was installed in November of 2015.
This public service project showed that a need existed in our community. On Saturday, March 26, 2016 the first retirement of American Flags was conducted at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #7472. Members of both American Legion Posts #156 and #300, along with VFW Post #7472, Boy Scout Troup 851 and the Civil Air Patrol worked to properly prepare Five-Hundred-Twenty-Two (522) American Flags for the ceremony that properly and respectfully honors the symbol of our Great Nation. Boy Scout Troup 851 members were instructed on the performance of the ceremony and carried out the retirement of the American Flags under the direction of their Scout-Master Ron Whitehead (member of Post 156). It was a moving ceremony in which Veterans and Scouts alike paid homage to the sacrifices made that have made our nation possible and a guiding light in the world.