One of the great things about Meridian is the respect our residents have for our country, and how proudly people fly their flags in this community. Our businesses, residents, government facilities, and service organizations are dutiful about the display. This also includes retiring of flags when they are no longer in a condition to be displayed, such as when torn, faded, or soiled. In fact, there were over 6,000 flags retired in Meridian in 2021 by the American Legion Post 113 in Meridian through respectful flag disposal ceremonies.
In 2022, we launched the Neighborhood Grant Program which enabled the community to apply for funding for a project that benefits Meridian. One project that was approved from the initial applications was a flag collection and disposal program, which was submitted by the Post 113. We were able to recently launch this program which provides additional dedicated resources to ensure that unserviceable flags are disposed of properly and with the utmost respect for our nation’s symbol. Essentially, Post 113 will now have the resources to collect and properly dispose of flags for the community in collaboration with the American Legion Post 201 located at the Idaho State Correctional Center here in the Treasure Valley.
This program was awarded a little over $12,000 from the Neighborhood Grant Program, which allowed for the purchase of two incinerators and two collection boxes. Volunteers from Post 113 and Meridian Boy Scout Troop 1 will collect flags from the collection boxes at Fire Station One and Fire Station Five and other locations in the community and then transport them to Post 201 where each flag is then prepared for disposal before being incinerated. Prior to being awarded this grant, Post 113 had one incinerator to process 50 standard flags at a time. Flag deposal would happen weekly, and volunteers could not keep up with demand. With these additional resources and partnership, they will be able to keep up with the proper dispose of collected flags.
These disposal efforts also include a creative and honorable way of recycling the brass grommets on the unserviceable flags. Post 113 takes those brass grommets and melts them down. That metal is then shaped into bells. The bells have been gifted to the Navy and been placed aboard the USS Idaho and the USS Boise.
I want to say thank you to the community who is committed to the proper disposal of American flags as it is a sign of respect for the country and for those who have fought and sacrificed for it. As a city, we remain committed to honoring our nation's proud history and serving those who have selflessly served us. I also want to thank the men and women at American Legion Posts 113 and 201, Warden Valley, the Correctional facility staff members, and the countless volunteers and contributors who have created a service that will be remembered and treasured in our Meridian community.
As Mayor, I could not be prouder of this collaboration honoring our country's flag and that this was our first deployment of our Neighborhood Grant Program funding!