Madrone Adventist Elementary School (MAES) provided a rare opportunity for both veterans and students last week. Nine years ago, when the previous flag was stolen from the school, this flag was raised in its place. Over the years, it became deeply faded and torn in the wind, this flag has flown strong as a symbol of this country.
When an American flag has aged and grown tattered or torn, many people don’t know how to dispose of such flags properly and show respect.
To “retire a flag” (dispose of), is to ceremoniously burn the flag and bury its ashes, according to the United States Code, which stipulates, “When a U.S. flag is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, it should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.”
The ceremony, which was hosted at MAES, invited veterans to attend the retirement as the students demonstrated some of what they learned about the symbolism and history of the flag.
As veterans view the flag not only as a symbol of the nation but as a chance to open discussions between generations of Americans, Madrone wanted this opportunity for its students to hear first-hand such valuable expressions in an educational process.
Did you know? The ceremonial protocol for retiring flags was created in 1923 in the aftermath of WWI, but it wasn’t until 1942 that Congress formally adopted the code.
We at MAES were deeply honored by the veterans this past Thursday, November 10, as we retired our old, faded, torn US flag at school.
The students participated by sharing aspects of the US Flag symbols, such as:
- The U.S. flag is more than just some brightly colored cloth. It is a symbol of our nation.
- The 13 strips together represent the original 13 colonies that gained us liberty.
- The red stripes remind us of the lifeblood of brave men and women who were ready to die for this, their country.
- The white stripes remind us of purity and cleanliness of purpose, thought, word and deed.
- The blue is for truth and justice, like the eternal blue of the star-filled heavens.
As a Christian-based educational institution, we aim to make connections between the physical and the spiritual lessons of life. It says in Isaiah 53:5, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes, we are healed.”
Christians are called “soldiers of Christ” who have been “enlisted” to serve in his army (2 Tim. 2:3-4). Paul sometimes called his helpers “fellow soldiers” (Phil. 2:25; Philemon 2). Following Jesus is the “good fight of faith” in which we need the “whole armor of God” so that we can fight spiritual battles and be “more than conquerors” through Christ our Captain (1 Tim. 6:12; Eph. 6:11ff, Rom. 8:37).
People belonging to an army encamp under a banner. So did the children of Israel in the wilderness; every tribe kept their camps under their standards. It is also a token of victory (Ps. 20:5). Christ has a banner, and that is His love. Which banner do we choose to encamp within?
Matthew 19:14 further invites us to consider, “But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”