Vicksburg American Legion creates dropbox for tattered flags

Retiring the flag

VICKSBURG, Miss. (WLBT) - If you had a tattered flag in Vicksburg, until recently you had to wait until the American Legion was open if you wanted to drop it off there for proper disposal.

That inconvenienced some people, said Air Force veteran Richard Stanley. So for the last four years, he and some of the other veterans at the organization have been trying to figure out how to make the process just a little easier.

He did a little research and found where other organizations were using old mailboxes, so the hunt began. Finally, they located a used mailbox, and Army vet Zane Bearrick was given the task of painting it. His process was specific.

“I painted the flags on it to recognize that’s where Old Glory’s final resting place is, and the black to recognize the POW/MIA that went missing,” Bearrick said.

Once the flags have been dropped off, they can be retired the right way.

“The proper way to retire a flag is you have a clean barrel and it’s a wood or a charcoal fire,” said Stanley. “Then you start it and you wait until it gets to be embers, no flames, and you retire the flag. You’re supposed to let it cool before you bury it at the bottom of the flagpole.”

The mission was about respect, Stanley and Bearrick said. It was also about honoring the sacrifice we observe on Memorial Day.

“A lot of people have fought and died for that flag for us to have the freedom to be able to do what we do today,” said Stanley.

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