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Flag Day is the flag’s story

LIHU‘E — Kelly Cobb, of Verizon, was visiting the Kaua‘i Veterans Museum with the company’s Rocks for Warriors program on Tuesday.

She could not help but notice the cloud of smoke being tended by a group of individuals, and had to inquire about what was going on.

Johnette Chun, the Kaua‘i Veterans Council adjutant, explained that what was taking place was part of Flag Day.

“That’s my birthday,” Cobb said. “I knew it was on Flag Day, but I never realized what Flag Day is all about.”

The flag awareness program, including what American Legion, Post 54 Chaplain Jim Jung described as a “civics lesson,” teaches participating individuals, usually Boy Scouts, about the American flag, including what its colors represent, the history of the Star-Spangled Banner and the protocol of taking care of the banner representing America.

One of the protocols involved putting the flags that can no longer service to rest, and by law, is burned with respect and honor, Jung said, ending his short talk by playing “Taps” on his harmonica.

Chun said the American Legion, Post 54 with its contingent of helpers being Troop 168 with Scoutmaster Mary Lardizabal that was adopted by the Kaua‘i Veterans Council after losing its church sponsorship, almost always burns the flags on Kamehameha Day because the day is always a government holiday and the resulting smoke would not inconvenience people who are working.

“The key is intent,” Jung said. “We burn the flags out of respect and honor, not to protest America.”

Chun said this year’s collection of flags came out to about six bagfuls, including Hawaiian flags, Missing in Action flags, flags from distinctive federal agencies like the U.S. Postal Service, and the state’s Department of Transportation flag that flew at the entrance to Lihu‘e Airport.

“This means the flag drop box works,” Jung said. “People can always drop by when the gates to the Kaua‘i Veterans Center (are) open, and drop the worn out flags in the no cost drop box.”

Chun additionally took the Rocks for Warriors and created a Rock Garden inside Kaua‘i Veterans Museum with an invitation for veteran families to visit and get a rock to honor the veteran.
Source: The Garden Island

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