League Lines: Raising Visibility and Honoring “Old Glory”

Fredericksburg-Rappahannock Chapter flag retirement

The League’s Fredericksburg-Rappahannock Chapter started a new Veterans Day tradition that is raising the chapter’s profile – and providing an important service – in the community.

“Retire Your Old Glory” provides an honorable retirement for worn and damaged American flags. The Fredericksburg-Rappahannock Chapter collaborated with the City of Fredericksburg to station Old Glory drop-off bins at several locations across the city. On Veterans Day, League members and local Boy Scouts retired the unserviceable flags collected from the bins.

Almost 250 tattered, faded, or torn American flags were respectfully burned during the retirement ceremony. Boy Scouts and their families helped separate the stripes from the star fields before the ceremony, which is customary during flag retirement to maintain the symbol of the union.

Fredericksburg mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw and director of public works Doug Fawcett attended the ceremony, as did Retire Your Old Glory program founders Denise and Dan Etter from Pennsylvania. “This was the first time that we know of that a Fredericksburg mayor has been to our chapter,” says chapter president Greg Raines.

Given the number of flags collected, the chapter plans to host at least two flag retirement ceremonies each year or as many as are needed. Veterans Day weekend will remain the keystone date for the program.

“It’s a very moving ceremony, and certainly we would like to try to get as many people out to see this kind of thing in the future,” says Randy Wilson, commissioner of the Boy Scouts’ Mattaponi District and a Fredericksburg- Rappahannock Chapter member.