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Aging flag replaced during ceremony at community garden in Citrus Heights

Bryan Womack and Mark Rice, of American Legion Riders Chapter 383, unfurl a new flag at the Sylvan Ranch Community Garden in Citrus Heights on March 31, 2018.

Submitted by Kimberly Berg–
On Saturday, eight members of a local American Legion Riders chapter roared up on motorcycles for a flag retirement ceremony of a faded and tattered flag flying at the Sylvan Ranch Community Garden in Citrus Heights.

With several members of the garden present, the riders saluted as the old flag was gently taken down, respectfully folded and boxed up, and a new one was raised in its place. Those in attendance also recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

Asked what would happen to the old flag, Pete DePalma, president of the Fair Oaks-based American Legion Riders Chapter 383, said old flags “need to be destroyed in a dignified way, and burned.” Title 4 of the U.S. Code states that when the flag is “in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, [it] should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.”

The riders group will be working with the local boy scouts to properly burn the tattered flag on Flag Day, June 14, along with other flags they have replaced during the year.

DePalma said he helped organize the ceremony after seeing a post on social media from a resident who shared photos of the aging flag. The new flag was donated by Congressman Ami Bera’s office and was previously flown over the Capitol Building in Washington D.C., according to Jack Miller, the congressman’s press secretary.

Sylvan Ranch Community Garden began in 2009 as a place for residents to grow and harvest food in Citrus Heights, with memberships and plots available for a small annual fee. The garden is located at the corner of Sylvan and Stock Ranch roads.

Members of American Legion Riders Chapter 383 pose for a photo at the Sylvan Ranch Community Garden in Citrus Heights. Left to right: Tim Pease (prospective rider), Dana Payne, Sandy Rice, Mark Rice, Don Lemmon, Bryan Womack, Tom Michel, Pete DePalma.
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