After years of service and taking a battering from the elements, many flags are tattered, torn and ready to be retired.

At 7 p.m. today, the annual Freedom Festival Flag Day retirement ceremony will be held at Provo’s Veteran’s Memorial Park, 800 E. Center St.

Residents are invited to experience this unique event and to see why many people pledge their allegiance to the flag.

Each year for the past three decades or more, America’s Freedom Festival at Provo, has invited residents with flags that have seen better days to be donated to this special ceremony, according to the festival.

The retirement ceremony is specific with only one flag being used in the ceremony representing all of the other flags that are afterward collected and incinerated.

As is in the case at Monday’s event, the ceremony should be conducted out-of-doors, preferably in conjunction with a campfire program, and it should be very special, according to official government guidelines.

The ceremony involves two color guards, one for the flag currently in use and a special color guard for the flag to be retired from service.

Just before sunset, the flag which has been flying all day is retired in the normal ceremonial procedure for that location or group.

The color guard responsible for the flag receiving the final tribute moves to front and center, according to U.S. flag retirement standards. The leader should present this color guard with the flag which has been selected for its final tribute and subsequent destruction. The leader should instruct the color guard to “hoist the colors.”

According to protocol, when the flag hasbeen secured at the top of the pole, the leader comments:

“This flag has served its nation well and long. It has worn to a condition in which it should no longer be used to represent the nation.

“This flag represents all of the flags collected and being retired from service today. The honor we show here this evening for this one flag, we are showing for all of the flags, even those not physically here.”

The American Legion will have a pre-ceremony program starting at 6:30 p.m. honoring the Cold War Veterans with a Utah Cold War Pinning Ceremony.

The American Legion is hosting the event in conjunction with the Daughters of the American Revolution and featuring the Children of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

In 2020, the U.S. welcomed in the newest military service branch, the Space Force. As the Freedom Festival displays the flags of the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard, the Space Force flag will be presented for the first time as the newest addition to the flag display of the different branches.

This is a free event open to the public. Refreshments will be provided by Macey’s Food and Drug at the end of the ceremony.

Daily Herald reporter Genelle Pugmire can be contacted at gpugmire@heraldextra.com, (801) 344-2910, Twitter

@gpugmire

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