Rescuing American flags from display and releasing them by retirement is an activity I take up in service to the spirits of this country. It’s my belief that these flags are infused with an amalgam of a great many spirits of this land, not just the ones connected to colonists and their descendants. I know that there are others who see things differently.
These flags were respectfully released from service; I attend a pagan conference every October where a flag retirement ceremony is held. Among the many misconceptions around flag lore is the belief that military members and veterans are uniquely qualified to retire flags; this is untrue. Anyone who reveres the ideals infused in the American flag may perform this final act, even those of us who are well aware how far short we are of achieving those ideals.
How we treat American flags is a reflection of our society. We actually have laid out the rules for proper conduct in law, but often the people who display flags are ignorant of how to do so with respect. Hanging one on an overpass is akin to leaving a prisoner’s body out for the crows. We can do better.
Even though anyone may retire a flag, I find that I enjoy collecting and retiring flags in a ceremony at a fire made sacred to the many gods and spirits of this land. Readers who possess flags beyond repair may always contact me for tips on conducting a respectful ceremony, or to arrange to send me a flag to retire.
This post comes from my accidental archives, also known as the drafts I forgot I had started and figured it’s high time I finish.