A lesson in national respect from those who know it best

SEE ALSO: VFW Post 6488 to pay tribute to Judge Milich on Memorial Day

By denise dick | denise_dick@vindy.com


The torn and faded American flag that flew in front of Jackson-Milton Elementary School has been replaced with a new model, providing

students with a civics lesson in the process.

Members of American Legion Post 737 removed the flag, which Principal Joe DiLoreto estimates was at least 7 years old, and showed students the proper way to fold it.

Students and teachers placed their hands over their hearts, and Legion members unfurled and raised a new banner to replace the old one.

The flag is “symbolic of the very heart of this great nation,” Murle McLaughlin, post founder, told students.

Friday’s event was a Memorial Day observance.

“Bow your heads and think of all the people who have died in order for you to be here today,” McLaughlin said.

Legion members gave a 21-gun salute, and bugler Kaye McLaughlin, Murle’s wife, played taps, the bugle call for “lights out.”

DiLoreto said the flag had grown faded and was torn around the edges. He and McLaughlin, who worked as the school’s maintenance custodian for 15 years, decided it was time to replace it.

After removing it from the flagpole and raising its replacement, Legion members placed the old flag over a frame affixed to a barrel, squirted it with kerosene and burned it, demonstrating proper flag disposal.

Every Flag Day, the Legion retires 150 to 200 flags in a similar fashion. Flag Day is June 14, commemorating the day in 1777 when the U.S. adopted the flag as its national symbol.

McLaughlin says flags should be retired whenever they become too worn, and the post tries to offer replacements to help that happen.

“You see a lot of stores with really bad ones,” he said.

When replacing a flag, though, it’s important to remember this lesson: “You should never let it touch the ground,” McLaughlin said.

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