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In honor of Flag Day, which occurs annually on June 14, Big Y Foods collected 8,304 worn, torn, faded, or badly soiled American flags for proper retirement. This year's collection period ran from May 22 through June 11. The New England regional grocer has held the event for three consecutive years.
All of Big Y's locations put out special receptacles for accepting the flags, which then went to local Boy Scouts, American Legions, VFWs and military organizations.
The collecting organizations hold a special flag retirement ceremony that conforms to the United States Flag Code. According to the code, burning a flag symbolizes purification and rebirth when performed during a ceremony. After a final tribute, a flag is cut in 13 strips representing the original 13 colonies, the strips are laid on a fire, and the ashes are collected and buried after the Pledge of Allegiance is recited and a moment of silence is observed.
Established in 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson, Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the first national flag in 1777. Big Y displays the American flag outside of all of its location.
Last year, the company collected 5,649 flags.
Springfield, Mass.-based Big Y, one of the largest independently owned supermarket chains in New England, operates 63 locations in Connecticut and Massachusetts with more than 10,000 employees.