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Flag disposal box offered at Fire Station #1
Legion offers correct disposal of old U.S. flags
Flag box
Gathered on Saturday to present the American flag retirement deposit box at Ceres Fire Station #1 on Third Street are: (left to right), Ceres Fire Captains Mike Lillie and Jeff Serpa, fire engineer Dominic Magagnini, firefighter Chris Steenburgh, American Legion Adjutant Walt Butler, Legion member Cliff Meyer, Fire Chief Bryan Nicholes, former County Supervisor Paul Caruso, Legion Americanism Chairman Lew Sims Jr., Legion Service Officer David Pratt, and Police Chief Brent Smith. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

A box has been set up in front of the Ceres Fire Station #1 for the public to properly dispose of old American flags that have outlasted their usefulness.

The box was dedicated on Saturday morning at the beginning of the Ceres Street Faire.

Previously the public had no convenient way to dispose of flags that are tattered, faded, marred or destroyed in other ways.

The flags will be burned in a proper way by members of the American Legion Post in Ceres.

The Ceres Fire Department participated in preparing a converted mailbox for the purpose of community flag retirement deposit. The mailbox was donated by the Ceres postmaster and coordinated by Legion member Walt Butler. Fire Department volunteers repaired and painted the box, and installed it in front of Ceres Fire Station# 1 on Third and North streets.

A second box is also offered at Ace Hardware in the Richland Shopping Center at Whitmore and Ninth streets.

In 1942 the Congress approved the Flag Code which outlines the proper disposal of unserviceable flags. The code calls for flags to be destroyed in a "dignified way, preferably by burning."

Members of the American Legion post did just that on April 17 when they burned over 600 American flags gathered for retirement. The event took place at a private ranch in north Modesto.

Flag etiquette calls for the following:

• The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property;

• The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.

• The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.

• The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free. Bunting of blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker's desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general.

• The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.

• The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling.

• The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.

• The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.

• The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.

• No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.