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Veterans camp gives old flags a new purpose

The Chronicle - 12/21/2018

Dec. 20--CHAPLIN -- The Veterans Base Camp in Chaplin is accepting worn- out flags, but they won't be retired.

Instead they will be given a new post.

The nonprofit organization, which provides services to veterans and first responders, will collect flags through Jan. 18.

On that date, the camp will have its inaugural "Star Party," at which participants will cut out the stars from faded and tattered United States flags and re-purpose them into a craft that will be sent to active-duty soldiers and veterans as part of a project called "Stars for Our Troops."

The project reminds members of the military their service is not forgotten and the nonprofit Stars for Our Troops, based in New York, have so far distributed more than 100,000 stars from 2,500 worn flags.

According to the website for Stars for Our Troops, the organization's mission is led by " patriotic volunteers."

" We pass the legacy of their embroidered stars to those that defended them," the website states in part.

At the Chaplin party, the craft will be led by Grotonbased quilting business That's Sew Debbie. Participants will be shown exactly how to cut the stars out from the flags and then package them individually, along with cards, to be distributed. R e f r e s h ments will be served at the event and participants can also meet the staff of the Veterans Base Camp and learn more about the services that the camp provides. The message that is sent along with the star will read "I am part of our American flag that has flown over the USA. I can no longer fly. The sun and wind have caused me to become tattered and torn. Please carry me as a reminder that you are not forgotten."

"The stars can be ordered from Stars for Our Troops to be given to veterans, first responders or active- duty members to thank them for their service and for activeduty members to distribute to their battle buddies to encourage them that they are not forgotten by those at home," said Cindy Archibald, program director for the Veterans Base Camp. "Other than postage, there is no charge. Stars can be obtained at the Star Party to hand out."

Archibald acknowledges the project can be considered a bit disrespectful by some people.

That's because the U. S. Flag Code prohibits using the flag as apparel and mandates that flags be destroyed when they are no longer in shape to be displayed.

"There has been some controversy about cutting the stars from the flag," Archibald said. "That being said, the manner in which these stars are removed, and the purpose for which they are removed, honors the flag.

" It honors and supports those who are fighting or have fought for our freedoms and has been interpreted as respectful for the last eight years that Stars For Our Troops has been doing this.

"I can't think of a more dignified honor for a retired American flag than to bring comfort and encouragement to our warriors and first responders."

All are welcome to attend the Star Party, which will be held from 5 to 8 p.m.

The Veterans Base Camp is located at 108 England Road.

Through Jan. 18, a collection bag will be out on the front porch of the camp office for anyone to drop off worn American flags.

For more information about the collection, about the project or about the other programs at the camp, or to register to attend the project party, contact Archibald at 860-477-1333.

There has been some controversy about cutting the stars from the flag. That being said, the manner in which these stars are removed, and the purpose for which they are removed, honors the flag.

Cindy Archibald

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(c)2018 The Chronicle (Willimantic, Conn.)

Visit The Chronicle (Willimantic, Conn.) at www.thechronicle.com

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