"We found that people would go and buy new flags and then wonder, ‘What do we do with our old American flags?’ A lot of people don’t know the proper method to retire a flag,” Stan Sarnocinski Jr., of the Patriotic Order Sons of America, Washington Camp 523 of Eagleville, said recently when I interviewed him about the drop-off box. “You never throw an American flag in the trash. That’s disrespectful.”
Stan Sarnocinski Jr. of the Patriotic Order Sons of America, Washington Camp 523 of Eagleville/ Mercury Photo by Carl Hessler Jr.
During the last year, about 400 tattered flags were left in the courthouse drop-off box, said Sarnocinski, who works for the county's purchasing department as supply room supervisor. On Sunday, June 8, those flags were among 4,000 that were properly retired during a solemn ceremony sponsored by Camp 523 and Camp 387 of Schwenksville, and Boy Scout Troop 105 of Schwenksville, in the meadow behind the Schwenksville Fire Co. off Route 29.
"Over 4,000 flags were properly retired and then the ashes were buried up at Heidelberg Cemetery in Schwenksville," Sarnocinski said. "It shows the public the proper way to retire an American flag and it keeps them out of landfills. We do it every year around Flag Day."
The Boy Scouts cut each stripe and cut the stars, explaining what each stripe and star means, and then burn them in proper fashion.
|Flag Retirement Ceremony, Schwenksville, Pa. Photo Courtesy of Stan Sarnocinski Jr.|
"It makes me proud," said Sarnocinski, referring to the ceremony.
|Boy Scout Troop 105 of Schwenksville participate in June 8 flag retirement ceremony. Photo courtesy Stan Sarnocinski Jr.|
Sarnocinski, currently the national vice-president of the Patriotic Order Sons of America, the oldest patriotic organization in the U.S., founded in 1847, urged citizens to continue to drop off their tattered and torn flags in the boxes sponsored by the organization so they can be properly retired during next year's ceremony.
The Order also sponsors flag retirement boxes at the following locations: Washington Memorial Chapel in Valley Forge National Historical Park; the Lower Salford Township building; Ace Hardware, Route 63, Harleysville; the 4-H Club along Route 113 in Creamery; the Lowe’s store on Egypt Road, Oaks; the Montgomery Township building along Stump Road in Montgomeryville; the American Legion Post 688, Route 30, in Wayne, Chester County; and at the organization’s state office along Route 61 in Leesport, Berks County.
"We get some unique flags. We have had a lot with 48 stars, the old flags that people have been holding onto," said Sarnocinski, the recording secretary of Washington Camp 523.
Kudos to Mr. Sarnocinski and all those who participated in this very patriotic event!