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Dent Legion performs flag retirement ceremony

First through third grade students watch as American flags are burned as part of a retirement ceremony put on by the Dent American Legion.1 / 2
Members of the Dent American Legion retire American flags deemed unfit to fly with help from students from St. Henry Area School and St. Paul's Lutheran School. Photos by Ashley Bergen/FOCUS2 / 2

More than 100 flags were retired October 6 by the Dent American Legion with help from students from St. Henry's Area School and St. Paul's Lutheran School.

The typically annual ceremony, this time behind St. Henry's in Perham, taught the kids how to properly dispose of Old Glory's deemed unfit to fly.

"We're basically retiring the old flags that are no longer of use," Commander Ray Masters said. "Ones that have seen their days."

Fourth through sixth grade students took turns handing a tattered flag to Legion members who placed each one into a barrel to be burned. The first through third graders were also invited to observe.

"We want them to watch what's going on," Masters said. "Because they'll be the ones helping next year."

There was little to no wind at the ceremony, which ran smoothly, Masters said. This year's event marked his first ceremony as commander.

As more and more flags were placed into the barrel, a large flame arose, garnering attentive eyes from every student near. Masters said proper disposal of the flag is something young people should know and understand.

There are other groups that also retire the flag in different ways. When Boy Scout clubs retire a flag, Scouts typically will cut up the flag and burn it in parts, starting with each stripe, representing one of the 13 colonies, then the field of 50 stars.