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Memorial Day: what happened
Fitzgerald during 2012 Veterans Day Parade
East Liberty County American Legion Post 321 Commander Dennis Fitzgerald - photo by File photo


Monday, 25 May, 2020, was supposed to be a day where Americans honored those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and veterans who have been called to their creator. However, while traveling this weekend to small, simple but reverent ceremonies, I noticed a great deal of disrespect for our nation’s colors. 

There were places where Old Glory was still at full staff, far too many places where there was a flag pole, but no flag flying, and even places where the flag which was flying was too disarrayed to be called a flag. 

Far too many do not know of how a U.S. flag is to be retired and then properly destroyed. Too many just throw it away – wrong; it must be retired with honor and properly destroyed, with the remaining ashes, properly placed in a place of reverance.

So here is a reminder from the U.S. Flag Code: When flown at half staff, the flag should be hoisted to the peak for an instant and lowered to the half staff position. When time comes for the flag to be taken down for the day, it should be risen to it’s peak, then lowered and properly folded. If it is to remain flying, it must be properly lighted.

Another item which upsets me is that a great majority of our youth, and far too many applying for citizenship, do not know why we observe this day or why proper respect to our nation’s colors is due. Legionnaires, Fellow DAV and VVA and other veterans organization members, please get involved. We, all veterans, must get in touch with our schools, and other organizations and let them know we are ready to host classes in flag etiquette and the history of what a U. S. veteran is. It is not up to the politicians, it is up to us. 

In closing, if you, your organization, church, school or community would like to receive more information on the U.S. flag and its customs, to include the proper and dignified way to retire and dispose of an unservicable American flag, contact the undersigned.

Dennis P. Fitzgerald

Riceboro, Ga. 

Fitzgerald is commander of the American Legion’s First District in Georgia. 

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