June 24, 2021

By: Colin McCormick 

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)—–Hamilton Township held their yearly flag retirement ceremony yesterday in Veterans Park. This service is to respectfully retire American flags in the proper absolute way. County Executive Brian M. Hughes and the Mercer County Office of Veteran Services invited the public to the official flag decommissioning ceremony Wednesday evening at 6:30 p.m. in Veterans Park. 

Each year, the Mercer County Office of Veteran Services partners with American Legion Post 31 and the Hamilton Township Patriotic Committee to host the time honored decommissioning of the American flags also commonly known as “Flag Retirement”. American flags that should be retired respectfully consist of, American flags that have become tattered, spoiled or are otherwise no longer fit for display will be burned in a dignified manner in a large pit during a ceremony.

The Fire was watched over by the Hamilton Township Fire Department Engine Company 18 and the Fire Marshall, to make sure all areas surrounding the pit were kept safe. The flags are not allowed to be put out; they must burn out on their own.

Veteran Services have collected thousands of flags eligible for retirement from American Legion Post 31, private homes, the veterans section of Greenwood Cemetery in Hamilton and Government offices. Since last year’s services were canceled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Veteran Services had more flags to retire than usual. “The flag of the United States symbolizes the values we hold dear and seek to defend, such as liberty, equality, opportunity, democracy and inclusion,” Mr. Hughes said. “It deserves a special sendoff, and on June 23 we will demonstrate a proper way to retire an American flag.”

This year’s service has guests from the Robbinsville JROTC, Mercer County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard, and Hamilton troop 7275. 

Hamilton’s Mayor Jeff Martin, Mercer County Executive Brian M Hughes, and Medina Wilson, spoke about the flag and the flag’s meaning, and why we should honor the flag. Mayor Martin said “It is great to see so many young people here to see the proper way to retire the flag and to understand the flag’s true meaning”.