Mercer County Executive Bryan Hughes and the Mercer County Office of Veteran Services invite the public to an official flag decommissioning ceremony on Monday, June 21, at 6 p.m. at Veterans Park (Klockner Road entrance) in Hamilton Township. Rain date is Wednesday, June 23, at 6:30 p.m.

Each year, the Mercer County Office of Veteran Services partners with American Legion Post 31 and the Hamilton Township Patriotic Committee to hold the time-honored decommissioning, also known as “flag retirement.” American flags that have become tattered, soiled or are otherwise no longer fit for display will be burned in a dignified manner in a large pit during the ceremony and the flames will be doused by the Hamilton Township Fire Division.

Veteran Services has collected thousands of flags eligible for retirement from American Legion Post 31, private homes, the veterans section of Greenwood Cemetery in Hamilton and government offices. And because last year’s ceremony was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Veteran Services has more flags to retire this year than usual.

“The flag of the United States symbolizes the values we hold dear and seek to defend, such as liberty, equality, opportunity, democracy and inclusion,” Hughes said. “It deserves a special sendoff, and on June 21, we will demonstrate a proper way to retire an American flag.”

Individuals and organizations that wish to have an American flag properly disposed of at this year’s ceremony should bring the flag to Mercer County Veteran Services, 1440 Parkside Ave., Ewing; Mercer County Connection, Route 33 at Paxson Avenue, Hamilton; or Thorne Memorial Cemetery; Hamilton Avenue between Klockner Road and Cypress Lane, Hamilton, no later than Friday, June 18, at noon.