The following was written by Philip Snead, an Augusta University police officer.
As Memorial Day approaches, we are reminded of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and our freedom. Not only did those brave men and women give their lives for us, but for our country and our flag, a piece of cloth with 50 stars and 13 stripes. A symbol of freedom, liberty and human rights.
As we reflect this Memorial Day on those who died defending our flag, let’s also honor them with a time-honored tradition. A tradition that has been forgotten by some or possibly unknown to others.
Many citizens and businesses fly the American flag proudly to show their support and patriotism for our county. These flags fly both night and day for years at a time, but what happens to them after they become faded, battered and torn? Do they get replaced and thrown away or thrown in a box and forgotten?
Flags should be retired after their service, and there is a process for this. The retired flag should be folded one last time. The folded flag is then burned. In most cases, when the flag is placed in the fire, those participating in the ceremony recite the Pledge of Allegiance and observe a moment of silence. After the fire has burned out, the ashes of the flag are then buried in its final resting place to join the memory of those who died defending it.
The Augusta University Police Department would like to continue this tradition.
For the month of May, we ask the community to bring us your worn American flags and worn Georgia state flags. During Memorial Day weekend, the department will join with our local Boy Scouts to properly retire all the flags we have collected.
A collection point has been set up in the lobby of the Augusta University Police Headquarters, located at 524 15th Street (directly across from the old Kroger). We ask that you help us with this time-honored tradition and remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, our country and our flag.