About 60 people were on hand to witness Legion Post 154"s flag retirement ceremony on Saturday, June 20. The ceremony had originally been planned for Flag Day, but had to be postponed due to rain. Bill Kinder, the post's first vice commander, led the ceremony during which the post retired and honored more than 350 worn and tattered flags in a "dignified and honorable manner" and in conformance to The American Legion's flag retirement procedures.
Citizens, business and community groups, and individuals surrendered weathered flags that had flown outside homes and shops and under lights at public buildings. The event began with the presentation of colors by the post's honor guard and the playing of "Call to the Colors" by the post bugler, Paula Atwood. The standard Legion flag retirement ceremony included the presentation and inspection of representative flags by a local Boy Scout troop and Cub Scout pack. Following inspection, the flags were ceremonially burned by post members Jeff Broadhead and Michael Montee, the "Caretakers of the Fire," who placed the flags one by one into the flames. As one flag burned into ashes, another was put in its place and the flames rekindled. "The annual ceremony reminds our community of the importance of our flag, and the importance of treating it with proper respect, and ensures that these flags which have given the community service are disposed of with respect and honor." stated Broadhead.
Harold Markiewicz, a 22-year Air Force veteran and member of Post 154, watched the ceremony and told participants that "teaching respect for the flag is one of the most important responsibilities of the Legion, especially for our children." American Legion Post 154 has a flag program for 4th and 5th grade students in local schools that includes the meaning of our flag and how to show proper respect.