On Flag Day, groups providing proper disposal

CHAMPAIGN — Today is Flag Day, which honors the U.S. flag, and is a good time to dispose of a tattered flag in the proper way.

American Legion Post 24 in Champaign will host a flag disposal ceremony at 4 p.m. at its post at 705 W. Bloomington Road, C.

The public is invited to attend, but can bring flags for proper disposal any time, said Post Commander Mark Friedman.

"We do enough business, for lack of a better way to put it, in disposal of used flags that we (burn them) two or three times a year," he said.

Those wishing to dispose of worn flags don't have to go inside the building. The post keeps an old U.S. Postal Service mailbox (painted red, white and blue and clearly labeled) around the back of the building for easy drop-off.

When the post fills a storage container with flags, it disposes of them through a basic ceremony, which Friedman called "no muss, no fuss."

For Flag Day, Friedman will conduct a more intricate ceremony. It will include the post's Color Guard, which will fire a salute to honor the flags.

Chuck Zelinsky, who is the Americanism chairman at Post 24, said a flag should be disposed of if it's ripped or tattered. Other service clubs and some Boy Scout troops also accept flags for proper disposal.

It's a myth that flags that have touched the ground must be destroyed, Zelinsky said, and they can indeed be cleaned.

Champaign-Urbana is a "flag-aware" community, Zelinsky said, and Post 24 has been honoring one business each month for the last eight years for properly displaying the U.S. flag.

Friedman and Zelinsky also said Flag Day is a good time to contact legislators to express support for a constitutional amendment that would allow Congress to prohibit the desecration of the American flag.

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