The American flag is one of the most recognizable symbols of the U.S.
The Stars and Stripes will be honored during ceremonies scheduled today in McHenry County as residents celebrate Flag Day.
“The flag stands for the freedom that we have and the accomplishments of all those who have died since the founding of our country,” Cmdr. Ron Reber of McHenry VFW Post 4600 said. “The ceremonies give the younger generation the respect the flag receives.”
The flag consists of 13 equal horizontal stripes of red (top and bottom) alternating with white, with a blue rectangle in the canton bearing 50 small, white, five-pointed stars.
The stars represent the states, and the stripes acknowledge the original colonies that became the first states in the Union.
“The flag means honors. It means country. It means everything to us,” Cmdr. Pat Conley of Huntley American Legion Post 673 said. “Men and women died for that flag.”
The Continental Congress adopted the flag June 14, 1777, as the nation’s official flag.
The first public proposal for a nationwide observance reportedly took place in June 1886, when Bernard Cigrand wrote an article in a Chicago newspaper. President Woodrow Wilson later issued a proclamation in 1916 calling for the annual observance, but it didn’t become official until 1949 after President Harry Truman signed legislation and proclaimed June 14 as Flag Day.
Flag retirement techniques also will be on display during the local ceremonies, as the symbol of freedom has to be disposed of properly when it is tattered or torn.
“You don’t just take a flag and throw it in the trash,” Reber said. “There is protocol.”
The U.S. Flag Code has guidelines for properly displaying, raising and lowering and disposing of the American flag.
• No part of the flag should touch the ground or any other object when it is being lowered.
• The flag should be displayed only from sunrise to sunset unless properly lighted at night, and should not remain outside in inclement weather unless it is weatherproof.
• When displayed with other national flags, all flags should be the same size and fly from separate staffs that are the same height. They should be raised and lowered simultaneously.
• When displayed with other state, local or organizational flags, the American flag should always be at the highest point in the center and raised first and lowered last.
• When a flag is so worn it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of the country, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner.
Flag Day events
The following ceremonies are planned in honor of Flag Day:
• CARY: Cary-Grove AMVETS Pearl Harbor Memorial Post 245 will conduct a flag retirement ceremony at 5 p.m. at Veterans Park at First Street and Park Avenue in Cary.
For more information, call 847-639-4587.
• McHENRY: McHenry VFW Post 4600 will host its annual flag-burning ceremony at 6 p.m. at the post, 3002 W. Route 120.
The public is invited. Last year, more than 400 flags were properly disposed of.
For information, call the VFW at 815-385-4600.
• HUNTLEY: American Legion Post 673 will host its annual flag-burning ceremony at 7 p.m. Saturday at the post, 11712 Coral St., Huntley.
The public is invited.
For information, call the post at 847-669-8485.