Thursday, July 8, 2010

American Flag Retirement Ceremony

By Mrs. Yolli

July 4th was Independence Day in America!

On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This document announced America's independence from Britain.


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I was with my family this Fourth of July, and we had a special event planned for the day.

My family had three old, tattered flags that needed to be retired. So on July 4th, we had a retirement ceremony.

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The United States Flag Code states: "The Flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem of display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning."

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First, we sang some patriotic songs!


Then, my cousin John gave a short speech. Finally, we retired the old flags to the fire.

What did you do on the Fourth of July?

Have you ever been to a flag retirement ceremony? 


  1. Dear Mrs. Yollis and family,
    Thank you so much for sharing your special Independence Day with us. I always enjoy seeing family gathered around the piano to sing, especially when the pianist is Mrs. Pfau!
    The flag retirement ceremony was very inspiring and touching. Your cousin John gave a very thoughtful speech, and I especially enjoyed hearing your family end with my favorite patriotic song.
    To observe Fourth of July here, I started off by attending a special service at my church. Everyone at the service was given a small flag, and the whole congregation was wearing red, white, and blue. We sang several patriotic songs and hymns, including my favorite, "God Bless America!" Later in the day Mr. Ranney and I enjoyed a concert and picnic at our local park followed by a spectacular fireworks show!
    Happy Independence Day everyone!
    Mrs. Ranney

  2. @ Mrs. Ranney,

    Thank you so much for your excellent comment! We had a lot of fun singing around the piano with my mom! She knows lots of patriotic songs! Fun!

    The flag retirement was a wonderful experience for everyone. We thought that it would be fitting to conduct the ceremony on Independence Day.

    It sounds like you had a fun-filled day as well! In Minnesota, lots of people purchase firework and shoot them off. So, my brother bought a bunch and put on a fantastic show for us. He loaded up the rowboat... walked the boat out into the water several feet from the dock...and shot them off from there! Quite fun!

    Thanks again for a fantastic comment!

    Your pal,
    Mrs. Y♥llis

  3. Hi Mrs. Yollis!

    Thank you for your comment on my post! Agree with you pets are really special friends :-)

    I have never been to a flag retierment ceramony and I thought this post was so interesting to read! I loved all of the videos you put in to the post. It was really cool to watch all of you sing and to listen to your cousin's speech. Now I'm really interested in going to a flag retirement ceremony! Once again another wonderful post from Mrs. Yollis' Classroom Blog!

    Your friend,

  4. Dear Mrs Yollis,
    I just love your post about the Fouth of July.
    I found it very interesting how you and your family had a ceremony about your old flags. I have never seen a service like that before and I found it to be very special. I have a question for you how long did you have your flags for? I just loved how Mrs Pfau played the piano and with everyone singing along with her it really was a special moment.
    Hope to hear from you from your friend Bianca.

  5. Dear Mrs Yollis,

    I have to say I really enjoyed and loved reading your post about the Fourth of July. How wonderful that you got to share it with your family. Like Bianca I loved watching and hearing you all sing while Mrs Pfau played the piano.
    What a very inspiring way to put your old flags to retirement I have never seen or heard of this and I must say it really was a very inspiring way to put your old flags to rest.
    Also I really loved the speech your cousin John made it was said with such passion and meaning.
    So on that note Happy Independence Day to YOU all
    from your friend down under AA.

  6. @ Kira,

    Thanks for a wonderful comment! I'm glad you enjoyed the two videos. It was a very special Fourth of July! I found those old tattered flags up in the attic and thought it would be a fitting day for their retirement. :-)

    What did you do on the Fourth?

    @ Bianca,

    Yes, it is interesting how different countries retire old flags. How is it done in Australia?

    You asked about the age of the flags. I think those flags were 8 or 10 years old. They get flown every day at the lake cottage, and that takes a toll on the fabric. I found the old flags up in the attic space at the cottage and thought they should be retired.

    I'm glad you enjoyed my mother's piano playing. I always do. My mother is a big fan of singing, so so we often gather around the piano and sing when we're at the lake in the summer.

    How was your holiday?

    @ AA,

    I'm glad you enjoyed the post as much as we enjoyed making it. These old flags have been at the cottage for years and since we had so many people at the lake for the Fourth, I thought it would be a good retirement day.

    Thank you for your comment about my cousin John's speech. I found his words very moving as well.

    I hear everyone will be back at school tomorrow. How was your holiday?

    Your friend,
    Mrs. Y♥llis

  7. @ Mrs Yollis,
    so nice to hear from you.
    I am very interested in your flags and I was wondering do you have three flag post for the flags which you put to rest or were the three flags given to you and your family.
    I still am so impressed with the way you put your flags to rest that I have been telling a few of my friends and they too are very taken by the very respectful way you put your old flags to rest.
    Once again it is always so nice to hear a speech that moves you and gets you to realise just how lucky we really are to be able to live in a wonderful country where we can express oursleves and to be able to walk around without conflick.
    We have had a really wonderful school holiday with spending lots of time with family and friends.
    I cannot wait for the nexted lot of holidays. Do hope you are enjoying your hoildays?
    Take care from your friend AA.

  8. @Mrs Yollis,
    thanks for writting back to me. I tried to find out how to we put out flags to rest but I couldn`t find any information for you I am very sorry.

    Yes playing the paino is so much fun and I plan to play and sing with my family around me and the paino.
    From your friend Bianca.

  9. @ AA,

    It was a very moving ceremony for all of us. For many of the kids, it was the first time they had ever seen a retirement that was nice for them to be a part of it.

    You asked about the three flags. We only have one pole, so the flags were from years past. My mom puts the flag up every day in the summer, and the flag becomes tattered over time. Then she replaces one and puts the old one aside. I found the old ones up in the attic and thought they should be retired.

    @ Bianca,

    Thank for trying to discover the Australian way to retire a flag. Perhaps we'll figure it out together. I wonder, what do other countries do with their old flags? Hmmm. Maybe someone will leave a comment about it!

    I'm glad you are planning to continue your piano! Playing or listening to music is a real joy in life. Everyone loves it when my mom plays and we sing along.

    Your friend,
    Mrs. Y♥llis

  10. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    Thank you for this post. It was so nice and informative. I had never heard of the flag retirement ceremony and frankly it surprises me that we burn rather than bury our retired flags. Burning seems so final.

    I love the songs and speeches that your family added and found it particularly moving to see that you performed it on the 4th of July. Did you see fireworks as well and picnic to celebrate the day? Where is your family's cabin? It all looked like an idyllic summer day.


    PS - Jaxon and I were in Las Vegas for the 4th. Boy can they do fireworks!

  11. @Barbara,

    So nice to hear from you! Wow...fireworks in Las Vegas! That must have been amazing! Did all the hotels shoot off fireworks or was there one central location?

    Yes, there are many ways to retire a flag, but burning it is the most common. It was fun for us because we had a bunch of family and friends there. Our lake cottage is in Minnesota and has been in our family since 1930. It was a great place for the event! Fireworks are legal in Minnesota, so my brother shot off firework from a little row boat off the dock!

    Hi to Jaxon!

    Going to Google next week!

    Mrs. Y♥llis

    July 12, 2010 5:21 PM

  12. Dear Mrs Yollis,
    how cool that you are able to set off fire works. For us here down under it is illegal.

    I really love the fact that you have a lake cottage where the whole family can gather and spend time together.
    Before I moved to Corryong in the snowy mountains we used to have a holiday house at Kinglake it really was a wonderful place for all our families to get together and spend the weekend with everyone. I really enjoyed those days a lot. Kinglake is an area which is made up off forest,farmland, and beautiful national parks.

    Take care from your friend down under AA.

  13. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    Thank you for sharing what you did on 4th of July. I really liked the post because you shared how to celebrate, and you did many nice things such as sing.

    Here's what I did on the 4th of July. I celebrated in the evening, but I also did one thing in the afternoon. As I was riding my bike, I started to sing "Your A Grand Old Flag." At around 6:00 my fanily and I went to my neighbor's house to watch the fireworks. We could see all of the fireworks that were showing almost all over the city!

    Did you enjoy 4th of July? If you did, why did you like it?


  14. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    You asked if each hotel shot their own fireworks or, if there was one location that shot fireworks. The answer would be that each hotel used their own fireworks. Also, I went to see, Cher.

    This summer I am going to Pennsylvania. Right now I am in New York, at my grandpa's office inside of Herb Philipsons.

    My Grandparents, also took me to Montreal, Ontario. There I saw Notre Dame, and I took a glass top boat tour around the city.


  15. @ AA,

    It was fun shooting off fireworks! Here in America, each state has its own rules about fireworks. They are illegal to purchase in California, but where I was legal.

    I feel very fortunate to have this family cottage. It has been a gathering place for generations and the best part is that music has always been an element!

    @ Kendall,

    I'm so glad you enjoyed the post about the Fourth of July! How funny that you were singing "You're a Grand Old Flag" was I!

    My favorite part about the Fourth was the flag ceremony. The singing, the speech, the retirement...was very meaningful to me as an American.

    P.S. I am going to finally publish the post about Translucent, Transparent and Opaque. However, I can't remember who was on the team. It was you, Kayla, and who else? :-)

    @ Jaxon,

    WOW! Each hotel in Las Vegas shot off their own fireworks! That must have been amazing! The streets must have been filled with people. How did they control the crowds?

    It sounds like you are having a fabulous break. I wonder if you will be near Mrs. Schmitt when you are in Pennsylvania? Remember: Skyping Pennsylvania

    Of all the places you've visited, which were your favorites and why?

    Mrs. Y♥llis


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