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. (United States Flag Code): The Smoke Brothers, who run Operation Fallen Flags and make up the crew of The Glory Truck, take those words very seriously.
Those words mean that when a U.S. flag becomes tattered, torn, weather-beaten, or otherwise unfit for duty, it should be properly retired – not just thrown in the trash.
Unfortunately, many people who fly the flag don’t always notice when their flag has become worn out, and often aren’t sure what to do when they finally notice it.
That’s why the Smoke Brothers do what they do. When they notice a U.S. flag that is no longer “a fitting emblem for display,” they will contact the owner of the flag, and offer to retire the worn-out flag and replace it with a new one.
The crew will roll up in The Glory Truck in all its red-white-and-blue glory – ride the truck’s 30-foot boom into the air, take down the old flag, replace it with a new one – and properly store the old flag until it’s time to retire it during their Flag Day ceremony at the LZ Peace Memorial at Midway Village in Rockford, Illinois. (See the 2020 Flag Retirement Ceremony – social-distancing was in effect.)
Operation Fallen Flags has retired and replaced American flags at people’s houses and at small businesses in and around Rockford.
Some of their larger operations include putting up a new 12-foot x 18-foot flag at the Lou Bachrodt SuperStore, and a huge new flag at Lonnie’s Stonecrafters on South Alpine.
Stop by Lonnie’s and take a look…the new flag is impressive, and you can also see the 4-foot x 9-foot black granite map of Vietnam that will be installed in front of the Huey helicopter at the LZ Peace Memorial. The map is a beautiful piece of work created by Lonnie and his crew and should be installed sometime this year.