Old Glory Gets A Proper Retirement At Bay Area Mortuaries

SAN JOSE (KCBS) –- Flag burnings are usually associated with anti-American protests, but the symbolic burning is actually being used to honor veterans this Memorial Day.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

For decades, boy scout troops and American Legion Posts have been retiring old American flags by burning them, because it’s the proper dignified way to dispose of tattered old flags. In fact, it’s illegal to get rid of them any other way.

”One that we got was very torn, basically shredded, and faded, which meets the requirement of a flag that is no longer presentable,” said Andrew Sparrer, the general manager of Bay Area Mortuary Services.

This Memorial Day, flags were accepted for an additional honor, to be burned with the bodies of veterans who opted to be cremated.

”People really respect the fact that we’re doing this, not only to dispose of the flag properly, but to honor our veterans by cremating that flag with them,” said Sparrer.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

More from Matt Bigler
  • The Truth

    First off, thank you to all the veterans for their service to our country.

    With that said, I just wanted to quickly comment on this tangent notion that Americans hold that “flag burning is bad.”

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard military personnel get upset that Americans are burning the flag. These soldiers say that they risk their lives for that flag and all the freedoms that it stands for, yet are too ignorant to understand that a citizen’s RIGHT to burn that flag is the ultimate freedom of expression.

    I never plan on burning an American flag, but I want the right to do so if I ever feel my government has become so rancid that I wish to express myself in such a manner. We should always protect our rights at all cost and never give them up regardless if we think we will ever use them or not.

    In fact, here’s a great clip from Penn & Teller’s show on this topic:


    Similar bit except on the show West Wing:



  • Ms. Patriot

    Our veterans, who have died, deserve to have the flag they fought for with them whether they are cremated or buried. Our flag obviously meant something to them or they wouldn’t have fought for it.

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