DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — The American flag flying outside the 355th Fighter Wing building was lowered ceremoniously and handed off to a veteran’s organization to be retired Jan. 28.
An American flag is retired from service when it is badly torn, tattered or is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display. The flag should be destroyed in a dignified way using extreme care to ensure proper handling.
“It’s important not only symbolically but it’s important to show the younger generation that there is a proper way,” said Staff Sgt. Steven Sinatra, 355th Medical Support Squadron diagnostic imaging technologist.
The 8 foot 11 ¾ inch by 17 foot American flag was taken down at the first sound of the national anthem during the retreat ceremony by six Airmen while a flight of approximately 20 U.S. Airmen and a group of veterans and other community members held their hands to their hearts or saluted in respect.
“This flag represents the tie between the young and the old; the young veterans that are still active passing the flag to the guys that have come before them” said retired U.S. Army Maj. William Garris, McCulloch-Wagner American Legion Post 109 commander. “Sharing the experience they have today and we share back the knowledge and experience we have from yesterday, and we then in turn share that with the children and the youth of the community.”
The veterans received the American flag and will work with a local Boy Scout troop to conduct a flag retirement ceremony at a later date.