By Frank Lewis
Students from the New Boston school system encircled three barrels and watched and learned how an American flag is disposed of properly Friday at Millbrook Park in New Boston.
“Flag burning is the desecration of used flags that are not fit to be flown anymore,” Bill Hutchinson of Minford American Legion Post 622 said. “It’s just like a funeral service we give to a good veteran. All in all we put the flags away just like you would put the veteran away.”
The event came about when New Boston Village Administrator Steve Hamilton reached out to the post. Hamilton began the program by talking with the students and telling them – “This is a nation of freedom. You can be what you want to be. That person next to you could someday be President of the United States.”
“It’s an honorable service and it’s a spiritual service,” Hutchinson said. “Post 622 is pleased to do it. We do it everywhere. This is the first time we’ve done it for a mayor (Junior Williams) and his village, but we’re pleased an honored that we can.”
Several members of the Village Council were on hand to witness the first-time event.
“We’ve been wanting to do it for a long time,” Councilman Mike Payton said. “This is a great civics lesson. It gives the kids an idea of what’s going on and how to appreciate government for what it is – the positive side of government.”
Williams took the opportunity to present a proclamation to long-time educator Diane Chamberlin for her 25 years of service to the school system weeks after she announced her planned retirement. Chamberlin wept as Williams read the proclamation and the students applauded as she received the certificate.
Minutes later Joe Stockham and John Fisher of Post 622 lit the first of several flags demonstrating to the students the proper way to dispose of flags that could no longer be in service.
“Please. If you have a flag, don’t throw it in the trash can. Don’t throw it in the dumpster,” Hutchinson admonished. “Give it to somebody. You can give it to the mayor’s office. You can give it to the fire department. They’ll keep it. They can call one of us and we’ll pick it up so we can destroy it spiritually and honorably.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.