Fire flickered at the top of the barrel and taps played as some 200 American flags went up in flames Monday at a flag-burning ceremony conducted by the Copperas Cove High School JROTC.

Cadet 2nd Lt. Tyler Smith properly laid to rest the flags that were no longer serviceable.

“It’s proclaimed that these flags have served well,” Smith said. “They’ve inspired those who desire the taste of freedom and represented hope to those oppressed by tyranny and terror. They welcomed any and all in the name of liberty.”

The U.S. Flag 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.”

JROTC cadets estimated more than 200 flags were collected for the ceremony. JROTC Instructor Chief Warrant 3 Enrique Herrera said he was not surprised so many flags were turned in.

“People love their flags and don’t allow them to become tattered,” Herrera said. “All flags in CCISD are replaced every year. They are replaced more often as needed. We also had people bringing (flags) into the school.”

Herrera said the ceremony showed students to treat things, especially the flag, with dignity.

Cadet 1st Lt. Keyshla Martinez organized the event, wrote the script, and choreographed the steps for the color guard.

“I had never been to a flag-burning ceremony. So I researched it for at least two hours,” Martinez said. “There is not a concrete way to do it, so I created a script.”

All but one of the flags were cut into strips and placed inside the barrel, with one flag reserved for the ceremony.

The flags’ red and white stripes — representing the 13 original colonies — were burned first, then the union — the field of blue with stars representing each state — was burned.

“This nation will remain the land of the free, only so long as it is the home of the brave,” Smith said during the ceremony.

Contact Wendy Sledd at or (254) 501-7476

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