The secure receptacle is located on the south side of the fire station.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The city unveiled a newly installed flag disposal box that will provide residents with a safe place to respectfully dispose of American flags.
"We don't want our flag to be disrespected and to have the opportunity for people to be able to retire it safely with honor in a centralized space is great," City Councilor Benjamin Lamb said Monday morning at a small gathering at the fire station where the box was installed.
Lamb said he decided to act after seeing a social media post documenting a pile of flags essentially thrown away at the transfer station. He did some research and found that Sturbridge had a public receptacle to dispose of retired American flags.
He thought this could be a solution in North Adams.
"I am known for coming up with weird sideways ideas and ... I contacted the Mayor [Thomas Bernard] and in almost no time the Chief [Stephen Meranti] followed right up," Lamb said. "... So thank you all for being so open to this. We talk about small assets that make a big difference and this is one of those things."
The solid red box is attached to the ground off to the side of the fire station's garage bays. It opens much like a mailbox and is able to be unlocked to retrieve the flags.
"It is a clear place where people can go if they have a flag that needs to disposed of safely, respectfully, and appropriately with the proper ceremony," Bernard, who also attended the small gathering with City Councilor Peter Oleskiewicz, said. "So someone doesn't inadvertently do something that disrespects the flag."
According to the Veterans of Foreign Wars' website, the flag must be folded and burned completely. During the ceremony, individuals can come to attention, salute the flag, recite the Pledge of Allegiance and have a brief period of silent reflection.
After the flag is completely burned, the fire should then be extinguished and the ashes buried.
Lamb noted that this is a service the American Legion usually performed but since its physical closure during the pandemic this resource has been limited.
He said the box is a city asset that can be used to properly dispose of the small flags handed out on Veterans Day and Memorial Day and American flags people may fly on their own property.
Lamb also saw an educational piece to the receptacle and noted it makes clear to current and future generations that there is a proper way to retire the American flag.
"I am excited that we got this in as quickly as we could," Lamb said. "I hope people use it."
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