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Posted on: March 9, 2017

Mill Creek Police Honor Flag with Disposal Ceremony After Vandalism

Image of flag disposal ceremony

Mill Creek police honored the American flag with a proper disposal ceremony after an act of vandalism damaged a flag overnight.

In the early hours of March 9, a Mill Creek resident came across two males in their late teens or early 20s who were burning a flag. The suspects had stolen a flag from a residence, hung it up from a basketball hoop, and were in process of lighting it on fire. The citizen chased the suspects, but was unable to catch them. He then notified police, who are handling the situation

“The Constitution protects flag burning as freedom of speech,” said Police Sergeant Bobby Phillips. “However, in this situation, it was not free speech, but rather reckless and criminal behavior.

The flag, while burnt, was not destroyed but was beyond repair. The U.S. Flag code states that, “the flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning."

The police brought the flag back to the police station and intended to turn it over to the VFW for proper disposal. However, at the 6 a.m. crew change, the decision was made to handle the disposal immediately. A small contingent of on-duty police sergeants, officers and detectives gathered for a flag disposal ceremony behind Mill Creek City Hall.

The ceremony included folding the flag in a customary triangle manner. A fire was then prepared to sufficiently burn the flag completely. The flag was placed in the fire and while it burned, the contingent stood at attention while saluting. The ceremony concluded with a moment of silence. The flag’s ashes were then buried behind City Hall.

“Many of our crew have fought for that flag in service to their country,” said Phillips. “We take very seriously our obligation to honor the flag.”
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