UPDATE: Flag Found in Trash Has Been Retired

By: WSAW Staff
By: WSAW Staff
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A Garrison flag that was found at a waste dump in Portage County back in May has now finally gotten the proper retirement it deserves.

When Al Tessman first found the flag, he turned it into the Plover VFW Post. Rather than burning it immediately, the VFW decided to use it as an example to the public of how not to dispose of flags.

Tonight hundreds packed Plover's Veterans Memorial Park to watch as the flag was burned.

The event featured speeches from local politicians as well as members of the military.

For Al Tessman, who found the flag, the tribute has been fitting.

"I think we have taken a bad situation and made the best of it. I am very excited and encouraged by all the outpouring of response that we have had from this. " Tessman said.

The VFW urges anyone with an outdated flag to turn it in to their local post rather than throwing it out themselves.

A retirement ceremony is planned for a rare Garrison flag found at a Portage County waste facility earlier this year. It's set for Saturday, September 21, at 6:30 p.m. at the Plover Veteran's Memorial Park.

Any one can attend the ceremony, you're just asked to bring your own lawn chair. You can learn more about how the American Flag was found and what the ceremony all entails, by watching the video above.

Iraqi War vet Al Tessmann found a rare Garrison flag at a Portage County waste facility the day after Memorial day. Now in the hands of the Plover VFW, Tessmann and other vets are using what happened to the flag as a rare teaching opportunity.

Tammy Jankowski is only one of many who stopped to see the desecrated flag at the Celebrate Plover event this weekend.

"It's moving to walk by and see the flag here rolled up in the condition that it's in," Jankowski tells NewsChannel 7.

One of the biggest questions visitors have for Tessmann is why anyone would do something like this.

"When I found the flag, I sensed it was an outward indicator of maybe what's going on in our country," Tessmann explains. "In Iraq, you see what the people of Iraq have and I look at what we have here and it's incredibly different. We have it really good."

After finding the flag in the trash, Tessmann is afraid we're loosing sight of that and what the flag represents.

"We have so much that is tied to this," Tessmann says choking back tears. "Thousands of men and women have given the ultimate sacrifice for our country and any one of them deserve that respect."

"It makes me sad for the guys, that they have to see this and all that they have done for our country and that they would run across this," Jankowski adds.

"We want them to respect the flag and understand the reason why we fought for that flag," retired army Command Sergeant Norb Strasser explains.

"We have small flags to give the kids. I've been asking the kids to make sure this flag doesn't touch the ground and then I refer to the large flag here on the table that just, this one kind of been through a lot and we don't want to see that happen to our flag," Tessmann shares.

They say the bottom line is that when it's time to retire your stars and stripes do it honorably. You can either burn the flag and bury the ashes or take it to your local VFW and they'll do it for you, something Tammy intends to do when the time comes.

"It makes you more aware of how important it is to our country and the symbol of it. The symbol of the freedom and how the actual men that serve, how important it is to them."

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