Commander Dave Timmeram
Plays Taps at a recent Flag Ceremaony
Fred Castil and Gerry Wolf
Fold the Flag 13 times
Completion of the 13th fold. The Flag is then presented to a family member in Honor of their service.
December marks the beginning of winter. For some folks, it’s their favorite time
of the year. This month also remembers the start of World War II and Pearl Harbor
Day. But, a relatively unheard of observance is “Wreaths Across America,” where
our war dead are ceremoniously remembered at Arlington National Cemetery,
across America, in our own Nebraska State Capitol, and in Lincoln’s Wyuka Cemetery.
The week of December 11 will feature two events. Nebraska’s Capitol will host
an observance in the Wamer Chamber at 11:00 a.m. on December 11th. Later on in
the week, there will be observances at Wyuka’s two Soldiers’ Circles on Saturday,
December 16th. The first one begins at 11:00 a.m. near the Vine Street access. The
second one will follow at the older circle located near the center of Wyuka. Being a patriotic activity, among the attendees will be honor guards from: the Veterans of Foreign Wars Posts 131, 3603, and 7722; Lincoln American Legion Post 3; and the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (Shiloh Camp 2). Cadets from the University of Nebraska Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), soldiers and airmen from the Nebraska Army and Air National Guard, and Boy and Girl Scouts are also scheduled to be there.
Knowing that it is winter, all celebrants are advised to dress warmly, in layers, due to the chilly air and possible snow fall. But, do come outand show your fervor for the heroes who gave their all for all of us.
Each December on National Wreaths Across America Day, our mission to Remember, Honor and Teach is carried out by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as over 1,400 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea, and abroad.
What does it take to show compassion, concern, and sacrifice that no one could
deny, even for those you don’t know? Try your hand at becoming a Salvation
Army volunteer bell ringer over the Christmas holidays.
American Legion Post 3 Legionnaires and their families have been doing just
that for decades at any number of locations around Lincoln. You may be shopping
for groceries. Your family might be looking for that special gift, or even returning
something for a better selection. You might be window shopping to get a good
idea of what you intend to buy later on. Or you and that special someone may be
out on your date night to a special place.
But be aware that whereever you find yourselves over the coming Christmas
season, you just might spy someone, or two, standing just outside your favorite
haunt ringing that familiar Salvation Army bell, with appropriate aprons, and
offering you season’s greetings with a smile and a thank you.
You might even meet one of your closet friends --- a neighbor, a relative, or
that fellow that just moved in down the street. Keep in mind that these American
Legion bell-ringers are your neighbors, your friends, family members, and most
of all, some people you know well.
Additionally, Legionnaires and their families served America in our U.S. Armed
Forces here at home and abroad. They did it because they cherished our American
ideals of God, country, and family. They knew that by their sacrifice, you and their
family and friends would be safeguarded against foreign aggression on our shores.
So far, their efforts have obviously paid off.
The Post 3 Family of American Legion organizations will be ringing bells on
the afternoon of December 14th. Among the volunteers you’ll meet this holiday
season will be Auxiliary members, Sons of the American Legion, American
Legion Riders, and the Honor Guard.
If you’re interested in how to become a Salvation Army volunteer bell-ringer as
well, why not contact Post 3 or them through http://www.lincolnsa.volunteerfirst.
org, or call 402-474-6263.
The rendering of Military Funeral Honors for an eligible veteran, free of charge, is mandated by law. An honor guard detail for the burial of an eligible veteran shall consist of not less than two members of the Armed Forces. One member of the detail shall be a representative of the parent Service of the deceased veteran. The honor detail will, at a minimum, perform a ceremony that includes the folding and presenting of the American flag to the next of kin and the playing of Taps. When available taps will be played by a bugler, however there are so few buglers available that the military services may choose to provide an electronic recording of taps. The veteran's parent Service representative will present the flag.
The preferred method for verifying eligibility is the DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty. If the DD Form 214 is not available, any discharge document showing other than dishonorable service can be used. The DD Form 214 may be obtained by requesting it online from the National Archives.
We participate in over 200 requests yearly.
Flag burning takes place when an American flag is deemed too marred and tattered to continue to fly. Never is it acceptable for an American flag to be thrown away, as this would be a sign of defeat for the message that it stands for. Instead, flag burning is deemed a more honorable option. The United States Military does everything that it can to take care of its flags, out of a deep seated respect for “the republic for which it stands.” Sometimes however, especially if it has been torn apart in a battle, it is simply unavoidable. When this happens, a flag burning service is held, giving the flag its last honor.
This flag burning service usually begins with the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by a reading of the poem, "I Am Old Glory," which recounts all of the fateful moments and victories the American flag has witnessed. A moment of silence is usually next, as the crowd quietly considers the solemnity of the moment. Then the field of blue stars is carefully cut out of the flag, and placed on the fire. As the red and white stripes are added to the fire, the color guard says emphatically, "Our flag rests in peace!" The crowd departs then as the military band plays "Stars and Stripes Forever," completing the flag burning service. This flag burning service combines solemnity with the joy and pride of being an American. While participants in the ceremony cannot help but feel a little sad over the demise of a flag, they take comfort in the fact that its message, and the nation that it represents will live on.
Some, outside of the military, have in the last few decades, extended the right to freedom of speech to mean a right to flag burning. This subject has sparked deep seated feelings on both sides, even among those who would never do it themselves. A clear distinction ought to be drawn between this form of flag burning, and the manner that the United States Military uses. Flag burning protestors often insist that they have respect for the principles endowed in the United States Constitution, but choose to burn the American flag to symbolize the ways that they believe that America has strayed from its original path. Opponents of this form of flag burning argue that this is counterproductive, and is really working against America itself.
In many other nations, flag burning in this way is illegal. Some nations, such as Norway, Austria, and Germany impose strict penalties on this form of flag burning, including heavy penalties, or even up to a year in prison. In an attempt to deter protest flag burning as a whole, Norway and Austria have also placed penalties on burning the flags of other nations as well. Other nations known to have a somewhat feistier relationship with the world, such as Egypt and Turkey, have allowed flag burning when it comes to enemy nations flags.
Military flag burning runs with a number of other traditions, designed to prevent the flag from being desecrated. For example, it is also a statute that the flag cannot be flown upside down. Nor should it ever be dropped to the ground, be made to dip, or be cut up and made into a costume. All of these preventions, along with flag burning, are a silent proclamation that the liberties endowed by the United States Constitution live on, safe and secure.
Flag burning is a tradition that dates back to America's British roots, from a time well before 1776. Even today, flag burning is consistently applied by the British military as well, who like Americans do of their country, believe that the United Kingdom is the greatest country in the world, and wish to present a visible symbol of their country's strength around the world as well.
Flag burning is also often applied in the German military as well, a policy implemented by Kaiser Wilhelm II.
It may come as a surprise that the original American flag, knit together by Betsy Ross, never had to be burned. Instead, after 233 years of life, it is still on display at the Smithsonian Institute, in Washington D.C. This well illustrates why many in the United States Military will do anything they can to avoid the prospect of flag burning, in the hopes that flags can be consistently well maintained over the years, and even centuries. Sometimes however, especially after a flag has been flown in a battle, that is not always possible.
There are two kinds of flag burning, one in protest and the other in respect. Protest flag burning is condemned by most countries, and arguably does not fit into freedom of speech. Flag burning done out of respect however is in keeping with the best traditions of the United States Military. This sort of flag burning well deserves a place alongside such other traditions as not letting a flag fall to the ground, flying flags in such a way to where they never dip towards anything, and of course pledging allegiance to the flag. These traditions show that America, after 233 years, is as strong as it ever was, and that the flag still waves in glory.
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Post 3 provides this service Annually. With the help of the Legion Riders and Boy Scouts, we honorably retire over a thousand flags. The ashes are buried at Lincoln Memorial with the Honor Guard preforming honors. You can bring your flags to our office to be disposed of.