On June 14, 1775, the Continental Congress authorized a resolution establishing the Continental Army to support the colonies in their revolt against Great Britain. This date is recognized as the birthday of the nation's oldest service — the U.S. Army.
June 14 is also an important day for Old Glory, The Stars and Stripes, The Red, White and Blue — the American flag — thanks to President Woodrow Wilson, who, in 1916, issued a proclamation announcing it as Flag Day.
In honor of June 14, the Light Horse Harry Lee Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) are planning a Flag Retirement Ceremony as a way of showing respect to the American emblem.
The ceremony is not until Sept. 20, but the collection of worn flags starts today, on Flag Day.
"Hopefully, it's a reminder to treat your flag with proper respect," said Karen Baber, DAR member. "Most people have or have had an American flag flying somewhere. They probably don't realize there's a proper protocol (to retire it)."
Collection bins will be placed throughout town at the Lee County Board of Education office, Sam's Club, ACE Hardware, the Auburn Chamber of Commerce and the Yarbrough Tennis Center. Worn flags can be dropped off at these locations through Aug. 14.
Auburn High School JROTC cadets will help the DAR do the leg work, collecting the flags from drop-off locations and participating in the ceremony on Sept. 20. Local Boy Scouts and the AHS Color Guard will also assist.
"The cadets are really the ones that need all the praise," Baber said.
The American Flag Retirement Ceremony will be a solemn program conducted inside the Alabama National Guard Fort Charles A. Rollo Armory on Shug Jordan Parkway at 10 a.m. on Sept. 20.
The ceremony will include a presentation of colors, remarks by guest speakers and the retirement of older flags by cutting them so as to make them unserviceable. If the DAR is overwhelmed with flags to retire, they will retire some during the ceremony and pass the rest to the Auburn Fire Division, which will then properly dispose of them via burning.
It is an Alabama Bicentennial event and it was planned by the DAR to take place during Constitution Week — an observance to commemorate the U.S. Constitution's adoption.
"It celebrates the American Constitution and our rights as citizens," said Yvonne Estrade, DAR member. "It celebrates our freedoms and liberties."
Baber and Estrade said they hope community members will attend the retirement ceremony, saying it is an opportunity for locals to pay respect to the flag and their country as well as learn about how to properly dispose of the symbol.
"We want to give it its respect and due," Baber said.
The DAR is a nonprofit volunteer women’s service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history and securing America’s future through education.