NAMPA, Idaho — The United States Flag Code states that when a flag is no longer a fitting emblem for display it should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.
American Legion veterans from all over the region came together in Nampa for a flag retirement ceremony where they retired around 5,000 American flags on Veterans Day.
"It’s real value is beyond price for it is a precious symbol for all that we have worked for, lived for and died for," said Matt Wrobel, the new commander of the Idaho American Legion. "I was a tanker, I love my country, I love my flag and that is why we do what we do."
Dennis Wood served in both the Army and the Navy, he came to the ceremony to represent American Legion Post 101 out of Mountain Home, this marked the first time Wood has been to a flag retirement ceremony.
"The flag is like my heart, said Wood who retired from the U.S. Navy. "I’m an Idaho boy and I love my state, but I love my country more."
The American Legion has been instrumental in helping generations of veterans dating all the way back to 1919, this organization is responsible for securing the GI Bill benefits for vets and in Idaho they have one of the best suicide prevention programs in the country.
"We still have that sense of camaraderie, we still have a sense of service because we service our communities, we our state and our country," said Wood. "We also service the actives that are still on duty."
It means little something extra on Veterans Day, a day dedicated to honoring our nation's heroes.
"I love everyone of my brothers and my sisters, we are always here for you night and day," said Wrobel. "We need to be here for each other and end some of the issues we have as veterans."
The American Legion recently got a grant from the City of Meridian for two new incinerators that will make it easier for them to perform flag retirement ceremonies, this ceremony had a representative from the Idaho National Guard band and a landowner in Nampa generously allowed the burning to take place on his property.
American Legion Posts through out Idaho and the VFWs have bins where people can drop off Old Glory once flags become no longer serviceable.