The Haverhill Exchange Club wants residents to know there is a proper method of retiring the American flag and the service club wants to help.
Exchange Club President Thea Tsagaris said the club’s “greatest priorities are to celebrate our country by honoring and respecting the American flag, promoting pride in our country and appreciation of Americas’ Freedoms.” In keeping with those priorities, she said, the club recently partnered with Driscoll Funeral Home to dedicate a U.S. Flag Retirement Drop Box. Patrick Driscoll said the box is available to the public 24-hours-a-day and there will be an event each year around Flag Day.
“Driscoll Funeral Home will be the steward of the box, receiving and collecting the flags throughout the year and storing them until we have a ceremony,” he said.
Tsagaris said, “the most dignified way to retire a flag is preferably by burning. As flags become torn, ripped or destroyed, residents of Haverhill and beyond are welcomed to place their weary flags to rest in the Flag Retirement Box.”
Veteran advocate Donald Jarvis said he is advising the Exchange Club, having previously established a drop box in Newbury, which collected 4,000 flags during its first year, when he served as veteran grave officer.
“One of the duties for the veteran grave officer is to not only care for the graves of the departed veterans, but also maintain the flags at their graves,” he said. The role led him to being known as “the flag guy” and he also assisted Rockport in securing a box that is maintained by the local Boy Scouts. That box collects 500-600 flags annually.
Jarvis said the Exchange Club’s visible and easily accessible flag box at Driscoll Funeral Home, 309 S. Main St., along busy Route 125, “will see the Haverhill box mimic the other flag collection boxes.”