MANTECA — For the second year, Prestige Senior Living in Manteca has commemorated Sept. 11 with ceremonial disposal by fire of retired U.S. flags.
Last year, Prestige collected more than 100 threadbare or damaged flags during summer, said community outreach director Laura Pearre. Prior to the disposal, the flags were displayed at the senior-living complex with a bit of history on each, such as one that flew over the state Capitol and then was given to the Manteca Senior Center.
We asked people to tell their stories about their flags, Pearre said. Like one family flew their flag until their son returned from active service.
With so many flags disposed of last year, the pool was smaller this year fewer than 30, Pearre said. The East Union High School Jr. Reserve Officers Training Corps conducted the flag burning, first doing a ceremonial deconstruction of a flag to explain the significance of its parts, then carefully and solemnly burning each flag. Per the U.S. Flag Code, fire is the preferred dignified method for disposing of Old Glory.
At the ceremony, three honorary chairs were left empty, Pearre said: one for the people killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, one for military service members, first responders and others whove lost their lives in the line of duty, and one for Prestiges resident veterans who have died over the years.