Fortuna Veterans observe annual flag retirement ceremony

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Yesterday was flag day, and the Fortuna Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) had their annual flag retirement ceremony. 

Every one of the veterans who’s here this morning has served in a war zone. 

“The flag has a special significance for us as a symbol of our country and our brothers and sisters who have lost their lives defending, you know, whatever our country has been involved in over the years, whether we agree with it or not”, says Enoch Ibarra of the VFW.

The flag retirement ceremony is a way to retire flags that are no longer in condition to be displayed publicly. 

“We don’t we don’t make the law, we just follow it. And so the veterans who are here disposing of the flags are doing it according to that law. And so there, you know, it’s done respectfully because obviously the flag is a symbol. It means a lot to us as a nation and to us as veterans”, he said. 

The Fortuna Veterans of Foreign Wars collects flags all year long leading up to this moment. 

“There are a lot of flags that are put into a mail container that is in front of the Veterans building. And right now we have approximately 400 pounds of flags to dispose of. Anyone who has a flag that needs to be disposed of can bring it to the Veterans Building and just deposit it in that container”, said Ibarra. 

And the federal code, while written many years ago, is still followed the same year after year. 

“I know that when the code was written, they probably didn’t have polyester flags. we’d rather not be burning polyester flags, but we don’t have much of a choice. you know, back then, in the old days, it was cotton flags, and so there was really not much problem with. That is not something you want to be breathing in”, he said. 

You can dispose of old flags at the Veterans Memorial located at 1426 Main St in Fortuna.

Story by Tucker Caraway