Monday night I went to the Provo Freedom Festival flag retirement ceremony. I have attended this many times over the years, and appreciate the reverence the American flag is given during it. For any who may not know, burning the flag is the proper way to dispose of a flag when “it is no longer a fitting emblem for display” (US Flag Code Section 176)
At first glance a photo like the above may conjure up the opposite feelings then it is intended. Usually you see the flag being burned in protest of the USA and the images are fairly offensive. But when you think about it, where would you want this flag that you hold dear to end up? Crumpled up in a pile of smelly garbage? That thought just doesn’t sit right. The fiery end to the flag conjures up images of a Viking funeral (and sadly a few scenes from Star Wars) where the fiery end of individuals is seen as showing great respect.
I love seeing the Boy Scouts assisting in the ceremony. I was able to assist in one when I was a boy scout and remember it giving me a greater respect and sense of patriotism.
Each time after placing a flag onto the fire (they had dozens to retire) the scouts that carried it would stand and salute for a few moments.