A big honor

Frank Pemper, representing the VFW and American Legion, assisted in the annual flag retirement ceremony on Flag Day, June 14 at Joe Brigance Park in Houston. (Photo by Floyd Ingram)

Frank Pemper, representing the VFW and American Legion, assisted in the annual flag retirement ceremony on Flag Day, June 14 at Joe Brigance Park in Houston.
(Photo by Floyd Ingram)

HOUSTON – There is a right way to do things in this world.

The Houston Pilot Club, VFW Post 7149 and American Legion Post 95 helped dispose of a massive garrison or Holiday Flag at their annual flag retirement ceremony at Joe Brigance Park on Flag Day June 15.

“Etiquette says you are not to cut the Union or the blue part of the Flag,” said Cara Chisolm, of the Houston Pilot Club. “The red and white stripes are carefully cut apart, but the Union is never to be divided.”

So when it came time for the North Mississippi Medical Center – Pontotoc to dispose of their giant 40X60-foot U.S. Holiday Flag, they contacted Chisolm.

Club members said it took two people to haul the folded flag inside, where three people cut up the stripes over the space of about an hour. The Union was carefully folded back up and brought to Friday’s 5 p.m. retirement ceremony at Joe Brigance Park.

Houston VFW member Frank Pemper was assisted by Dicky Sisk in carefully placing the Union in the fire.

Veteran Bob Verell, USMC retired, played Taps as a pall of smoke filled the sky.

More than 100 flags were disposed of this year – the most ever handled at the local ceremony.

More than 35 people gathered at the north end of Joe Brigance Park to observe the event.

“When your Flag – our Flag – gets tired, worn and tattered, please bring it to us,” said Chisolm. “We gather them all year round to bring to this ceremony.

“Our Flag holds a special spot in the heart of a lot of people – as well it should,” said Chisolm. “There is a proper way to dispose of a Flag and this is why we do it.”

Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the Flag of the United States on June 14, 1777.

While Flag Day is not a National Holiday, it was declared a national day of observance by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916. On Flag Day, the President calls on government officials to display the flag of the United States on all government buildings and encourages private citizens to do the same.

The Houston tradition of disposing of the ashes was started by the late Billy Peel.

Those gathered for Friday's Flag Retirement Ceremony in Houston hold the Union of a giant Holiday or Garrison Flag. Flag ettique requires the Union never be broken and it must be burned as one piece. (Photo by Floyd Ingram)

Those gathered for Friday’s Flag Retirement Ceremony in Houston hold the Union of a giant Holiday or Garrison Flag. Flag ettique requires the Union never be broken and it must be burned as one piece.
(Photo by Floyd Ingram)

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