EATON — To honor Flag Day, Preble County Council on Aging held a flag retirement ceremony on Thursday, June 14. American Legion Post 215, The Daughters of the American Revolution Preble Chapter of Eaton, and Boy Scout Troop 107 came together to run the ceremony.
PCCOA kicked off the ceremony by hosting lunch in the Decades Diner. Following, Gunnery Sergeant Christian Bussler, retired U.S. Marine Corps, gave a speech about his time as a Mortuary Affairs veteran, discussing his tours and why Marines started covering coffins in neatly ironed flags.
Next, the retirement ceremony was held in the Memorial Gardens. To start, DAR Regent Debra Crumbaker shared the history of the United States Flag.
“On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress Resolved, that the Flag of the United States be made of 13 stripes, alternate red and white, that the Union be 13 stars, white in a blue in a blue field, representing a new constellation. Once this was passed, our flag looked different each time a new state joined the union, because a new stripe was added,” Crumbaker said.
“The flag soon required very tall flag poles. An act of April 14, 1818, provided for 13 stripes, representing 13 original colonies, and one star for each state to be added to the flag on the Fourth of July, following the admission of two states. As states were admitted, the position of the stars changed. Today we have stars in nine rows, five rows with six stars and four rows with five stars.”
Connie Jones, Auxiliary President with American Legion Post 215, read song lyrics by Andrew Dean. She read, “The day our flagpole was ready, we had no flag to fly. A mother stepped forward and said I have a flag with a tear in her eye. It was given to me the day that we laid my son to rest. He was a true blue soldier who gave his life his best.
“I got a knot in my throat and a chill in my bones. A tear rolled down my face, a mother has lost her son at war. The pain on her face.
“In a mother’s eyes you can see red, white, and blue. In a mother’s eyes you can see the pain so true. Freedom comes with a cost of sadness and loss. You can see in a mother’s eyes.
“When someone puts their life on the line so others can be free, it’s a selfless act of courage and love, how thankful we all should be. And when I look at the flag today, I see a whole new meaning there. I see the men and the women who died for her, so in this freedom we can share.”
Next, the unserviceable flag was lowered and folded. Another flag was already cut into stripes, with the field of blue cut on its own. The flag retirement was led by American Legion Post 215 and Boy Scout Troop 107.
The ceremony script reads, “We have presented here these Flags of our Country which have been inspected and condemned as unserviceable. They have reached their present state in a proper service of tribute, memory and love.
“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, true to the faith of the past, devoted to the ideals and practice of Justice, Freedom and Democracy.
“Let these faded Flags of our Country be retired and destroyed with respectful and honorable rites and their places be taken by bright new Flags of the same size and kind, and let no grave of our soldier or sailor dead be unhonored and unmarked.”
Stripe by stripe by stars the flag was ceremoniously lowered into a bin so it could later be burned. A new flag now flies over the Senior Center.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH