When an American flag at a public building in Lebanon has become tattered, torn or in need of replacing, the local American Legion, Santiam post 51 is called in.

“When the city has a flag that needs to be replaced, they call us and we will take the old one and replace it with a new 4-by-6 foot flag,” Ray Johnson, the adjutant for the Legion said.

The Legion donates and replaces American flags for city buildings, schools, parks and sometimes the senior center.

In 2013 Johnson said that they replaced between six to eight flags. “We really don’t keep track of how many we replace,” he added.

The Legion purchases the flags at their costs, which is around $25. “We only perform this service for public buildings,” Johnson said.

When the flags are replaced, the Legion will store the old flags. Then, once a year on Flag Day, they have a ceremony and respectfully destroy the flags. Anyone can attend the ceremony and bring their old flags for destruction, Johnson said.

The Legion has been donating replacement flags and performing ceremonies for more than 40 years, Johnson said. The ceremony is held at the downtown Lebanon in the Legion’s parking lot, 480 S Main Street.

In addition to replacing flags, the Legion coordinates with Forty and Eight on Memorial Day. the Legion places flags in the International Order of Oddfellows cemetery to honor those that served in the military. They are up to 1,800 flags, Johnson said.

In addition to the flags, they temporarily place white small crosses on grave sites.

Contact Ted Holliday at Ted.Holliday@Lee.Net or 541-259-3127.

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