1. How do you destroy your official USDA Forest Service Woodsy Owl costume?
According to the USDA, there are certain mandatory steps to take:
Destroying Old Woodsy Owl Costumes
1. Incinerate the complete costume with the oversight of an official USDA Forest Service law enforcement officer*.
2. The entire Woodsy Owl costume including each of the separate pieces is to be destroyed beyond recognition.
* If you do not have access to an official USDA Forest Service law enforcement representative, arrangements will be made for dealing with your costume by contacting the USDA-FS Washington Office at:
c/o National Symbols Program
P. O. Box 96090
Washington, D. C. 20090-6090
2. What do you do with your old Texas Flag?
Texas lawmakers tell us what to do:
Decommissioning of the Texas Flag Sec. 6. (a) A state flag, when it is no longer used or useful as an emblem for display, should be destroyed, preferably by burning, in a ceremony or other dignified way that emphasizes its honor as a fitting emblem for this state.
(b) A retirement ceremony for a state flag should be conducted with the honor and respect inherent in the traditions of this state. While the state flag may be retired in a private ceremony, it is encouraged that a retirement be a public ceremony under the direction of uniformed personnel representing a state or national military service or a patriotic society.
© During a retirement ceremony, a person in uniform should render the military salute at the appropriate time as designated by the ceremony. A non uniformed individual present should stand at attention with the right hand over the heart. When not in uniform, an individual who is wearing a headdress that is easily removable should remove the headdress with the right hand and hold the headdress at the left shoulder, with the right hand over the heart. An individual who is not a citizen of this state should stand at attention …
(e) The official retirement ceremony for the state flag encouraged for public use is: I am your Texas flag! I was born January 25, 1839. I am one of only two flags of an American state that has also served as the symbol of an independent nation—The Republic of Texas. While you may honor me in retirement, the spirit I represent will never retire! I represent the spirit of Texas—Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow! I represent the bravery of the Alamo and the Victory at San Jacinto. My spirit rode with the Texas Rangers in the streets of old El Paso and herding cattle through the Fort Worth stockyards. I have sailed up Galveston Bay. My colors are in the waters of the Red River and in the Bluebonnets of the Texas Hill Country. You’ll find my spirit at the Light House of Palo Duro and in the sands of Padre Island; I am in the space station at Houston and atop the oil wells of West Texas. From the expanse of the Big Bend to the Riverwalk of San Antone—all of Texas is my home!
(Etc. There is indeed more. Quite a bit more. Plan on spending the better part of your day retiring your Texas State Flag.)
3. What about your old Illinois state flag?
Legislators suggest burning – and accompanying the ceremony with some meaningful words….the long version or what they amusingly call “the short version.”
Short Version or Appropriate for Gathering of War Veterans
I am the Illinois Flag. I represent just one out of fifty states and what a remarkable State it is. Throughout the years, the land in which I represent has seen wars between nations and between brothers and sisters.
The name Illinois came from an Indian nation called Illiniwek, meaning the people. The Indians were the first people on my land just like any other state and they played a big part in my history. In the Indian world, Cahokia was one of the biggest cities in the world. Many Indians on my land built villages like Cahokia with burial and temple mounds. They built Woodhenge, which was used as a sun calendar. Some Indians invented flint hoes for tilling soil, bow and arrows, and began composing poetry.
Then people from lands far away settled in my territory and the Indians had to move. One Indian named Black Hawk, would not move and this started the Black Hawk Wars. Ten years after the Black Hawk Wars, President Polk called for volunteers to serve in the war with Mexico. Three thousand troops from my state volunteered. Then the Civil War began and divided a great nation….
[Note: The “short” version goes on…and on from here… Plan on spending the better part of your day and night retiring your Illinois State Flag. As for the long version, don’t even think about it.]
4. What song can you sing to express your joy and love of the Food and Drug Administration?
We’d like to suggest the official FDA Centennial Anthem written specially for the, well, FDA Centennial.
The opening stanza:
One century past, a people’s hope fulfilled
By an act conceived for safe medicine and food
Protecting rights that our founding fathers willed
To life and liberty, to happiness pursued.
(There are more equally poetic and stirring lyrics.)
5. Is there an official checklist you can follow when wearing your official Smokey the Bear Costume?
Why, yes, there is!
1) The person wearing the costume must exhibit appropriate animation to be effective. Express sincerity and interest in the appearance by moving paws, head, and legs.
2) There shall be at least one uniformed escort to accompany the Bear. The escort shall guide the Bear at the elbow.
3) After donning the costume, the escort shall inspect the suit. Check for the following: Is the drawstring tucked in? Is the zipper out of sight? Are the buttons fastened? Is the belt firmly fastened to the pants? Are the pant cuffs neat? Is the hat crown up? Is the head straight on the shoulders? Is the fur brushed generously?
…..The costumed bear should not force itself on anyone.
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