KNOXVILLE (WVLT) – The American flag means many different things to many different people. The men and women of our nation’s armed services salute it and school-aged children pledge allegiance to it, but on Saturday, we all celebrated it.
The American flag is also known by several names including the Stars and Stripes, the Red, White and Blue, and Old Glory.
For the year leading up to Flag Day, the Elks of West Knoxville collected thousands of frayed and discarded American flags, remembering that no matter how big or small, each represents our nation.
By law, when the long and honorable journey of each flag ends, its time to pay our respect to what it stands for, by retiring it.
On Saturday afternoon, with members of the Marines on hand, the Elk’s held a ceremony to properly destroy each flag. To do so, you must cut the field of 50 blue stars away from the 13 red and white stripes. After that is done, the remains are burned.
"There are proper rules for when and how to display a flag,” said Tom Salter, Knox County’s director of solid waste. “This is the preferred method of disposal."
Congress declared Flag Day a national holiday in 1949. It is celebrated on June 14th to commemorate the day Betsy Ross’s design for the American flag was adopted by the Second Continental Congress in 1777.