Retired with dignity

LIHUE — Robin Sanchez, commander of the American Legion, Post 54, said a lot of people don’t know about the protocol surrounding the American flag.

“It’s a good thing we designed the box where people can deposit their worn and tattered American flag,” Sanchez said. “Even the people who work in the post office facility (near the Lihue Airport) didn’t know.”

The repository of worn flags was emptied Friday, retiring the flags. The ceremony hosted by the American Legion, Post 54 is part of honoring the flag on Flag Day, June 14.

“Normally, we do it on Flag Day, but because Flag Day falls on Saturday and the neighboring Vidinha fields are full of kids, we opted to do this retirement, Friday,” Sanchez said. “But it’s a work day so we don’t have too many people.”

Flag Day is America’s day, Sanchez said.

“The flag is more than just some brightly colored cloth,” the commander said. “It is a symbol of our nation. The U.S. Code, Title 176 states: ‘The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably burning.’ The flag should be treated with respect when it is flying, and should be treated with respect when it is being retired.”

Helping with the retirement, Boy Scout Troop 133 with Scoutmaster Mike Kano and Scouts Cullen Kitamura and Eljay Camat dutifully retired the seemingly unending stream of flags from the deposit box.

“This is my first time and it is very interesting,” said Cynthia Dorsey, one of the coordinators of Women in Military tribute.

She was joined by Diane Mikami, an American Legion, Post 54 member, and Marlene Burgess.

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