Local waste facility saves Stars and Stripes

HAMPDEN, Maine (WABI) - Workers at the new waste processing facility in Hampden have discovered some broad stripes and bright stars among the trash.

The patriotic bunch of technicians decided to make sure these flags were properly disposed of.

Treasures found among the piles and piles of trash.

"It makes me very angry to see all these flags because it's very un-American. It's not a respectable way to do it."

Employees at Fiberight's Coastal Resources of Maine have "rescued" more than 30 American flags since they began operation in April.

"Right around the 4th of July, we realized that there was just an abundance of flags coming through the waste stream, and the staff came to us and wanted to do something about it."

They started the U-S Flag Rescue Project.

"We capture and rescue the flags from the incoming waste stream and set them aside."

Aside and on display.

"We're actually very proud of our flags that we find, so we figured why not display them for everybody to see."

The flag code states that the "flag when it is in such condition that is no longer fitting the emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way."

So, what is a dignified way?

"It's not by throwing it in the trash, by no means. You just fold it up or roll it up and put it in a box and find an outfit that will take it. The American Legion will if you know of one near you. And every year there is a ceremony for flag retirement."

The job description of a recycling technician is to sort and "properly" dispose of materials, and that's exactly what these workers plan to do.

"We have worked with the town of Hampden and the local boy scout troop to do a proper flag retirement ceremony."

Fitting it should be held on September 11th.

"September 11th for us means that we remember, and what we'd like everyone to remember is that flags don't belong in the trash. They belong and they need to be retired in a dignified manner which suits them for the representation that they provide for our country."

"The ceremony will take place starting at 6:30 here at the Veterans Monument at the Hampden Town Office. The public is invited to attend.