The Coon Rapids VFW invited members of the public to a flag retirement ceremony Aug. 28.

“I thought it would be good because we were going to retire the flags anyway, so we might as well have something bigger and make it for the community and they can come out and see it,” Senior Vice Commander Shane Fields said.

The VFW takes old flags all year round, which it then retires during occasional ceremonies throughout the year, Fields said.

Flags that are faded in color, torn or the ends are shredded are due to be retired, Field said. The VFW also sells flags at cost to community members so they can purchase one when they bring in their old flag for retirement.

“It’s real value is beyond price, for it is a precious symbol that we comrades have worked for, lived for, died for – a free nation of free men,” Commander Bruce VanBeusekom said.

As the sun set VanBeusekom spoke, addressing the importance of treating flags with respect. Following a recitation of the “Pledge of Allegiance” members of Boy Scout Troop 212 assisted in retiring the first flag. Then guests were able to take turns lowering flags onto the fire.

“They’re a thing that the people fought and died for, and it’s what we’ve worked for all of our lives,” VanBeusekom said. “It’s just a sign of respect.”

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