Flags re­tired in re­spect­ful cer­e­mony

Westside Eagle-Observer - - NEWS AND EVENTS -

GRAVETTE — Mem­bers of the John E. Tracy Amer­i­can Le­gion post, along with sev­eral fam­ily mem­bers and guests, gath­ered at the United Methodist Church fel­low­ship hall Tues­day, June 19, for their an­nual flag re­tire­ment cer­e­mony. Post mem­bers hold a cer­e­mony near the Flag Day hol­i­day each year to dis­pose of flags which have be­come faded and worn and are no longer ser­vice­able.

Flags to be re­tired are col­lected from lo­cal businesses and in­di­vid­u­als, and a brief cer­e­mony is held be­fore their dis­posal. The cer­e­mony was opened with a prayer from post chap­lain Jheri Roberts. Post mem­bers stood at at­ten­tion as post com­man­der Bill Mat­tler, of Hi­wasse, spoke a trib­ute to the faded flags.

His trib­ute read, in part: “A flag may be a flimsy bit of printed gauze or a beau­ti­ful ban­ner of finest silk. Its in­trin­sic value may be tri­fling or great; but its real value is be­yond price, for it is a pre­cious symbol of all that we and our com­rades have worked for and lived for and died for — a free na­tion of free men and women, true to the faith of the past, de­voted to the ideals and prac­tice of jus­tice, free­dom and democ­racy.”

Flags were pre­sented by Teddy Selby, sergeant at arms, to com­man­der Mat­tler. The flags were first ex­am­ined by first vice-com­man­der Dave Mal­czyn­ski, who de­ter­mined they were no longer us­able, and then by sec­ond vice-com­man­der Mark Rus­sow. Af­ter the fi­nal in­spec­tion, they were re­tired by a dig­ni­fied and re­spect­ful burn­ing.

Guests at the flag re­tire­ment were treated to a cook­out af­ter­ward. Young and old alike en­joyed ham­burg­ers, hot dogs, potato salad, mac­a­roni salad, baked beans, chips, cook­ies and soft drinks.

West­side Ea­gle Ob­server/SU­SAN HOL­LAND

Will Crose, past first vice-com­man­der for the John E. Tracy Amer­i­can Le­gion post, over­sees the burn­ing of a re­tired Amer­i­can flag. Mem­bers of the Gravette group hold a flag re­tire­ment cer­e­mony each year to re­tire flags which be­come faded and worn and are no longer ser­vice­able. SU­SAN HOL­LAND shol­land@nwadg.com

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