Janesville17°

U.S. flags find fitting final stop

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Stacy Vogel
May 21, 2008
— Perhaps offering to personally pick up the flags was a bad idea.

Last year, David Soderberg invited Janesville residents to call him if they wanted a flag destroyed in the Golden Kiwanis Club’s annual flag disposal ceremony.


“I had 27 people call, and I lost track after 27, but it caused me to go run all over town to pick up flags,” he said.


This year, a group of volunteers created a one-of-a-kind drop box to collect the flags.


The Kiwanis Club got a postbox from the local postmaster and asked the art department at Parker High School to create a design for it.


Soderberg asked that the design include a bald eagle, both because it’s the nation’s symbol and because Soderberg learned respect for the flag in Boy Scouts, where he eventually earned the rank of Eagle Scout, he said.


Senior Ashley Rutter designed and painted the box, which was installed Tuesday at Kiwanis Park at the corners of Holiday and Pontiac drives. Tim Roth donated money toward the box as a memorial to his father, Marvin Roth, who always conducted the flag disposal ceremony in the past.


Residents can drop off worn flags to be burned in a ceremony Thursday, June 12. The Kiwanis Club usually holds the ceremony on Flag Day, June 14, but Soderberg couldn’t find enough volunteers willing to work on a Saturday, he said.


Boy Scout Troop 540 will fold the flags before they are unfurled and incinerated.


Last year, the club spent about six hours burning 118 flags.


“It takes some time, but it makes everybody feel good,” Soderberg said.


Veterans appreciate it when people take the time to properly dispose of flags instead of throwing them away or burying them, he said.


“You should hear some of the compliments from servicemen, World War II veterans,” he said. “It’s wonderful.”


WHERE TO GO

You can drop off worn or tattered flags now until Thursday, June 12, at the drop box at Kiwanis Park, 2501 N. Pontiac Drive, Janesville.


The flags will be burned in a ceremony starting at 10:30 a.m. June 12. In case of rain, the flag ceremony will be held Friday, June 13.


PROPER FLAG DISPOSAL

American flags should be destroyed “in a dignified way, preferably by burning,” according to the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Here are suggested procedures from the group for disposing of a worn flag:


-- The flag should be folded in its customary manner.


-- It is important that the fire be fairly large and of sufficient intensity to ensure complete burning of the flag.


-- Place the flag on the fire.


-- Bystanders can come to attention, salute the flag, recite the Pledge of Allegiance and have a brief period of silent reflection.


-- After the flag is completely consumed, the fire should then be safely extinguished and the ashes buried.


-- Please make sure you are conforming to local fire codes.



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