Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

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June 14, 2007

Veterans want old flags properly laid to rest.

KOKOMO, Ind. — Throughout the year, Jim Ault and other local veterans collect old and tattered American flags in order to burn them as part of a traditional ceremony in recognition of Flag Day.

The event, called Flag Drop, honors and celebrates the freedom that the stars and stripes stand for and provides a convenient way to dispose of unserviceable flags.

“These flags are unserviceable and they are due a respectable cremation,” said Ault, the commander of VFW Post 8035. “It is our duty as veterans to do it and do it in a respectable way.”

There won’t be any such ceremony this year, since the veterans discovered a bill exists making it illegal in Indiana to burn nylon, the material most flags are made from.

Now, Ault said he has “two tons of flags” with no way to dispose of them.

“That’s a lot of flags, but it’s our duty to do something with them.” said Ault. “Someone’s got to do it.”

Ault and fellow veteran and VFW member Thomas Hagan have contacted several politicians trying to get an answer, but has not had much luck.

“We’re at a crossroads,” Ault said. “We’re trying to solve one problem, but it creates another. If we do this, we’re in violation of the law.

“A letter lays on [President Bush’s] desk asking what needs to be done to comply with the flag code,” he said. “Hopefully, someday through the political process we’ll get an answer, though, we don’t expect one. People we’ve talked to are passing the buck.

“As a veteran, it’s disheartening because you grow up in this country and that’s one of your symbols of freedom. We treat it as though it’s a living thing. It’s part of your life. It’s one of your best buddies.”

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