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U.S. flag's poor condition draws fast response

Give the Sweet Home School District an "A" for effort.

After a reader contacted Fix It to complain about an American flag that was in poor condition in front of Heritage Heights Elementary School, The Buffalo News called School Superintendent Geoffrey M. Hicks.

Within hours, not only did Thomas D. Miller, Sweet Home's director of finance and plant services, call back, but officials at the school had already sent workers out to inspect the flags at all district schools with orders to replace any that were not in good condition.

"We had Buildings and Grounds check on all of the flags," Miller said.

While he said he was not aware of a problem at Heritage Heights, the flag at Dexter Terrace Elementary School had been reported as being in bad shape. When workers checked on that flag Friday, they found that it had been replaced about a month ago.

Miller said the school district monitors its flags and replaces them once a year. When they are taken down, they are turned over to the Boy Scouts for proper disposal, he said.

But Sweet Home is not alone. After checking on the Heritage Heights flag last week, Fix It took a short ride through the Northtowns and found several flags at different locations that were in various stages of deterioration.

It's a sad sight, and as the Sweet Home School District proved, one that's easily remedied.

The standards of respect listed under the Flag Code state that when a flag is so worn that it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of the nation, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner.

Most American Legion posts regularly conduct dignified flag-burning ceremonies, as do Cub Scout packs, and Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops. Anyone interested can contact an American Legion post or any of the local Scout troops for information about the service.

Fix It has tackled everything from faulty roads to poor street lighting to broken public drinking fountains. Readers may submit potential items three ways: through regular mail by writing to Fix It, c/o The Buffalo News, One News Plaza, Buffalo, NY 14203; by e-mail at; or by calling the Fix It voice mail line at 849-6026.

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