Final Salute to 15,000 Flags
& 8 Holds Annual Flag Disposal Ceremony

Dave Frankland
Legionnaire Dave Frankland salutes flags being consumed by flames. MORE PHOTOS

WHITESBORO, Nov. 13, 2010 -- Dave Frankland of Utica, a new member of the American Legion, stood at attention and saluted the worn U.S. flags as they were consumed by flames. It was a final salute before he turned to leave.

Frankland, a Vietnam-era Air Force vet, was one of nearly 100 people – veterans of all service branches, Navy Jr. ROTC cadets from Proctor and Notre Dame High Schools, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts and others -- who showed up for the annual flag disposal ceremony Saturday, Nov. 13, at Oneida County 40 & 8 Voiture 92, located on Judd Road in Whitesboro.

John Ryan
John Ryan salutes Old Glory before setting it aflame.

“It’s a respectful ritual,” Voiture 92 Chef de Gare and past Oneida County American Legion Commander John Ryan told the crowd. It’s not just a matter of burning the flags, he said, noting that veterans equate that with protestors. He said they retire flags with respect and dignity – much the same way a family says goodbye to a deceased loved one. The ashes of the flags, he noted, are taken to Calvary Cemetery in Utica, and buried with a veteran.

The ceremony began with retiring the flag on the 40 & 8 flag pole, and unfurling a new one. Proctor JROTC Cadets William Cornette and Franklin Guevara carried the retired flag, followed by the American Legion Post 229 Color Guard, through an honor cordon of JROTC cadets, with swords arched high. The retired flag, representing an estimated 15,000 flags being disposed of, was brought to 40 & 8 officers for inspection and prayer. Then the cadets placed the flag in a steel burn pit. Veterans and cadets came to attention and saluted as Proctor JROTC bugler Eugene Falvo played taps… and as Ryan set the flag aflame.

Color Guard
Utica Post 229 Color Guard passes through honor cordon as part of the flag disposal ceremony. The color guard included team captain Mike Cavanaugh, riflemen Curtis Greene and Bob Pinto, and flag bearers Steve Currie, Jim McGuire and Dave Valentine.