It was designed for the sole purpose of retiring the United States flag with honor and dignity. With the help of U.S. veterans from the Non Commissioned Officers Association (NCOA), that's exactly what a newly designed ceremonial flag incinerator— designed and donated by Premier Technology employees— did for the first time at a flag retirement ceremony at the company's headquarters in Blackfoot Tuesday afternoon.
Premier Technology is an engineering, manufacturing, construction management company well known for its custom metal fabrications and work with the nuclear industry. Andy Hasselbring. manager of executive affairs at Premier Technology, said company administrators were approached by members of the NCOA about designing, fabricating and donating a ceremonial flag incinerator.
"It's (the incinerator) kind of like a great big barbecuer," Hasselbring said. "Usually retired flags are destroyed in an open burn barrel. This is a nicer and more appropriate way to retire American flags."
He added, "We work with a lot of military folks on a daily basis. We were happy to donate this to the military at this patriotic time of year for their dedication to our country."
A crowd of about 30 spectators stood silent as United States veteran and NCOA chapter president Fred Clemons spoke briefly about his pride in America and what the flag means to him personally and to the country.
"When a flag becomes worn and tattered, it must be retired with glory and honor," he said. "This flag stands for where we've been, where we are today and where we are going as a country."
He went on, "We must remember, there is never going to be an end to our fight for freedom. We must keep our eyes wide open. Freedom has to be won over and over again."
Hasselbring said plans are in the works to get a trailer for the incinerator so that it can be transported and used throughout the region.
NCOA is an international service organization for retired and active duty military service personnel.