By Margaret Barnett, Sacajawea Scroll
The flag hangs, flies, represents, instills and at the end of the day, is folded.
The South Dakota Army National Guard taught Girls State delegates the proper respect citizens should pay the flag, and the proper way to fold it at the end of the day at the Tuesday night general assembly in Aalfs Auditorium Slagle Hall.
Jeffry Heier, Staff Sgt. with the Army National Guard gave a presentation on the proper respect and care to be used in regards to the American flag.
Delegates from St. Louis carried the flags to the stage and said the experience was rewarding. They were told to keep the eagle facing forward and to carry them up in their proper order; the American Flag, the South Dakota flag, followed by the Girls’ State flag.
Two New York delegates, Tori Rasmussen and TyAnn Hart aided Heier in his presentation. Rasmussen took charge of the triangle folds and Hart held the union.
The American flag is to be flown only when there is light on it, from sunrise to sunset. When raising the flag it is the first to be raised and the last to be lowered. After removing the flag, it is to be folded properly and stored in a secure and proper place.
On certain holidays, the flag is to be raised to only half-staff and can also be raised to half-staff at the command of the President or a state governor.
When raising the flag to half-staff, it is to be raised all the way up and then lowered back down to half-staff. The same is for lowering, it must be raised to the top once again, and then lowered all the way back down slowly and ceremoniously.
Once a flag has reached a point of disrepair it must be retired. Flag retirement should always be done with the utmost respect.
If it should be done, it must be burned in a fire big enough to completely destroy it. A prayer is a traditional part of the flag retirement ceremony, followed by the burial of the ashes.
To Heier, to show respect to the American flag is to show respect to America’s history.
Delegates Mary-Katherine of Cleveland and MJ DeGuzman of St. Louis spoke said the presentation was educational and modern.
DeGuzman was impressed by how it kept delegates attention and how Heier was good at interacting with the flag folders. They said it encouraged proper civil duty and active citizenship.