Veterans Honored at Flag Retirement Ceremony


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Monday, November 12, 2012, is the official observance of Veteran’s Day, but local veterans were honored in several ways prior to the national holiday. Both the Lamar Elks Lodge and Eagles Aerie provided a free meal this past weekend to those men and women who have served in the country’s military forces.

Over one hundred persons braved the cold temperatures Sunday afternoon at Bi-Centennial Park in Lamar for a Veteran’s Day, Flag Retirement Ceremony, hosted by Cub Scout Pack 223 and Girl Scout Troop 359. Several organizations took part in the ceremonies including the honor guard of the Lamar VFW Post #3621 who provided a military salute and the playing of Taps to honor those who had served in the armed forces.

It is stated in official regulations that when the American Flag is no longer a fitting emblem for display, it should be destroyed in a dignified manner, preferably by burning. Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts lined a portion of Highway 287/385 in the afternoon, displaying the American Flag to passing motorists. At the same time, the youngsters handed out strips of flags which would later be consumed in several fire pits, set up to warm the Sunday afternoon crowd and dispose of the flags which had been faded by numerous high plains suns and shredded by the local winds over the years.

The flags were held horizontally, several feet above the ground, while volunteers cut them into red, white and blue lengths which were handed out to the gathering. And then, by color, those strips were placed in the fires. As part of an on-going tradition, ashes of flags from earlier retirement ceremonies were placed into the fire pits and the ashes from Sunday’s ceremonies would be collected to be added to the next one. Veterans were also asked to present themselves before the fires while scouts handed over one full flag, ceremoniously folded, which was also added to the fire. As a further gesture of appreciation, each veteran was given a necklace, colored red-white or blue and created from the grommets which attached the flags to their poles. Mayor Roger Stagner led the gathering in an invocation and Lamar Elks PER, Jared Crabtree, explained the history behind the retirement ceremony and what each color represented on the flag.

By Russ Baldwin

Photos by Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: communityCountyEducationEventsFeaturedLamar


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