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Lance Cpl. Gage V. Thompson, station Provost Marshal's Office military police officer, folds the national colors after performing the flag lowering ceremony at sunset here May 29, 2012. The national colors represents Americans’ past, present, and future. It represents the love and blood they have shed for the freedoms that, at times, are taken for granted. Photo by USMC Pfc. Nicholas Rhoades
Lance Cpl. Gage V. Thompson, station Provost Marshal's Office military police officer, folds the national colors after performing the flag lowering ceremony at sunset here May 29, 2012. The national colors represents Americans' past, present, and future. It represents the love and blood they have shed for the freedoms that, at times, are taken for granted. Photo by USMC Pfc. Nicholas Rhoades

 IWAKUNI, Japan (5/31/2012) - The United States of America adopted the national flag June 14, 1777. Since then it has been tirelessly honored and admired partially because of the mystique surrounding its customs and courtesies.

The National Colors represents Americans' past, present, and future, it represents the love and blood people have shed for the freedoms that, at times, are taken for granted.

Service members know what to do when the flag is raised in the morning, or lowered in the evening, but many don't know what to do when colors pass them, such as in a ceremony or when uncased.

“When colors are passing, like a color guard, all military members
are supposed to salute at the proper distances,” said Sgt. Maj. Peter W. Ferral, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron sergeant major.

Color guard has extensive training on how to handle the colors and after ceremonies they are taught to cover the flags immediately and not to walk around with them.

“After ceremonies, if colors pass it is important to still show proper respect,” said Ferral. “But sometimes, Marines will just walk by the colors as if it is just a rag hanging on a stick.”

Marines in the color guard not only know the proper way to present colors, but also how to retire the colors and properly store them.

“We complete constant training that tests our drill movements and our ways of respecting both the national colors and the Marine Corps colors,” said Cpl. Roy A. Covington, III, a Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni color guard Marine. “We are shown proper ways of folding, casing, uncasing, and simply maintaining the colors of the United States and the Marine Corps.”

There are many places aboard the station which present colors, either the National colors or the Marine Corps colors, but sometimes flags become tattered and station residents may be unaware of the proper disposal of the colors.

“The Marine Corps colors are supposed to be scarlet and gold, not pink and gold,” said Ferral. “The proper way to retire old colors is to rip it up, in a concealed location where no one else can see, and then burn it privately. That way you have the ashes and can properly throw away the ashes.”

From battlefields to front porches, no matter where the colors have flown, they will always represent our country and Corps as the land of the free and the home of the brave.

By USMC Pfc. Nicholas Rhoades
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2012

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