Displaying Our Flag

Watching a torn flag in the wind

I was driving through Townsend Center recently, and looked up at our beautiful church sitting on top of the hill, with its tall, white steeple reaching up into a brilliant blue sky. A perfect picture I thought until I looked over at the flagpole with our country’s flag waving in the breeze. Usually, a nice sight to see, but not this day. The flag was torn, actually shredded, into what looked like strips. It was time to replace a worn out flag. Flags wear out quickly on this hill.  It’s elevated enough to catch any breeze and when the winds blow, the air whips the raised flag, sometimes violently. The flags flown here are displayed year round, day and night, in all kinds of New England weather. So flag replacement is needed often.

My aunt’s military funeral flag

I have a flag that was given to me at my aunt’s military funeral and wondered if it would be appropriate (or not), to donate it to fly over the church grounds. My aunt, a retired Army nurse, served in England, France, and Germany during WWII.  She was a devoted nurse and patriot. She grew up in Townsend and loved coming back “home” to spend time with family and friends during her Army life and retirement. It would be an honor to fly her flag here, I thought, which would overlook part of Townsend Center, a place she loved. I needed to find out what you can and can’t do with a “military funeral flag”. The internet gave me some information, saying there was nothing written to indicate you couldn’t fly this type of flag, and a veteran’s website said there was nothing wrong about displaying it as long as it was flown in honor of the deceased veteran.

Reaching out for help

I decided to talk to Russ Moore-QM, of the VFW in West Townsend, who would have the answers to the questions I had. He also said that as long as it was displayed in honor of the veteran, it would be okay, and we both agreed it would indeed be done to honor the veteran. Russ also told me they receive flags from the community, which are no longer in good condition to display, and that they have a special ceremony at the VFW to dispose of them properly. I believe it’s done on Veteran’s Day. So one day my aunt’s flag will fly over the church grounds overlooking Townsend Center. It will be in honor of her service and it will have meaning to her family.

If there is anyone interested in donating a flag such as the one I have, let me know. It will be displayed with honor and respect for the veteran it was given to.

Lynne Connors

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