Murray-Troutt American Legion Post and Squadron 262 were contacted by Joyce Miller of the Volunteers of America Delaware Valley, the veterans services coordinator for Home of the Brave. The purpose for the call was to ask if our VSO would be available to conduct a flag retirement and replacement of ceremony at their location in Camden, N.J. The current U.S. flag, POW-MIA flag and State of New Jersey flag had succumbed to the outside elements/weather and needed to be replaced as soon as possible.
As a dual member of Post 262, the commander and squadron adjutant, I advised my fellow Legionnaires and squadron comrades of the request. Past Detachment Commander, current detachment ANEC and squadron commander Robert Phillips Jr. and I formed a detail of members from our post and squadron.
The flag retirement and replacement of the flags was conducted on Feb. 22, 2020, at 1 p.m.
The ceremony was witnessed by over 100 people from several organizations, both VSO and non-VSO groups. The Legion Riders of 281, dual Legion members from Post/Sqd 68, 286, 262 and 311 were on hand to assist with the raising of the 3 flags. A non-VSO group, Rolling Badges MC of Westville, N.J., were in attendance as well. The motorcycle club is made up of police, fire and EMS professionals, most of whom are veterans as well.
As those in attendance moved forward to bear witness to the flag retirement, 20 veterans from Home of the Brave were in the front ranks, stood at attention and saluted as the old flags were lowered, replaced, then re-raised.
After the flags were secured, Post Chaplain George Cain came forward and offered a special prayer for the retired flags as well as a prayer for 4 residents of Home of the Brave who had passed away this past year. Squadron member Charles Ross tapped the Post 262 bell as each name was read. A moment of silence concluded the event.
Home of the Brave is part of the Volunteers of America Delaware Valley Homeless Shelter in Camden. The veterans who currently reside here are transitioning from the shelter to more permanent housing in the Delaware Valley.
For God and Country,
Douglas W. Catts