Don Dorland folds a flag Saturday morning before it was retired at the Moffat County Fairgrounds. Members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265 and the American Legion Post 62 retired about 300 flags at a burning ceremony. Afterward, the flags were given a proper burial.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Don Dorland folds a flag Saturday morning before it was retired at the Moffat County Fairgrounds. Members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265 and the American Legion Post 62 retired about 300 flags at a burning ceremony. Afterward, the flags were given a proper burial.

VFW, American Legion posts retire 300 to 325 flags

Mark Wick, commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265, spent part of his post-Fourth of July on Sunday afternoon digging a hole on his 40 acres in Lay.

Once the hole was dug, the Vietnam veteran and VFW commander since June deposited the ashes of 300 to 325 American flags in the ground, the final act in a chain of events to properly retire the flags.

"That's part of the tradition - properly disposing of the ashes," said Wick, a VFW member since July 2006.

About 11 members of the VFW and American Legion Post 62 spent three hours Saturday morning honoring worn, torn, tattered and soiled American flags by burning them at the Moffat County Fairgrounds.

The flags were folded before they were placed in groups of three to five in a burn barrel. The process began about 7 a.m., and the local veterans finished about 10 a.m.

Wick said there was no hesitation in burning the flags on the Fourth of July.

"Not at all," he said. "There is a big difference between burning the flag in protest or in effigy and taking care of old friends."

Several community members dropped off old flags for the retirement ceremony, Wick said.

Michael Lausin, a Vietnam-era U.S. Navy veteran and commander of the local Sons of the American Legion, participated in his third flag retirement ceremony Saturday.

He said the retirement is in keeping with tradition and also honors the sacrifice many made in representing the American flag.

"Part of the flag code is you have to reverently destroy the flag to retire it," Lausin said. "A lot of people died for what that flag stands for. We just did the right thing."

He said Saturday's timing for the event was as good as any other.

"Any time is a good time for a flag (retirement) if you have enough of them," Lausin said.

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