Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Watching Our Flag Burn With Pride

Last night I had the privilege of attending my first US Flag Retirement ceremony, courtesy of my son's Cub Scout pack. It was held outdoors at the end of our annual Halloween meeting around a dying campfire, in the dark, amidst dozens of kids and their parents, who had been up to this point laughing and joking while watching the skits the various dens put on. Then the annoucement that we had a flag that needed to be retired and complete silence was required. You could have heard a pin drop.

It's pitch black, campfire has gone out, only the glow of embers...soooo quiet...a flattened cardboard box is laid on the embers while someone starts reciting the ceremony by flashlight. The box ignites, & an old tattered flag is laid onto the flames. At that moment, flames shoot up as if on cue - illuminating faces watching in silent awe as we hear:
Flag retirement ceremony
Photo Courtesy of Scott Adams 
"I AM OLD GLORY; for more than 9 score years I have been the banner of hope and freedom for generation after generation of Americans. Born amid the first flames of America's fight for freedom, I am the symbol of a country that has grown from a little group of 13 colonies to a united nation of 50 sovereign states. Planted firmly on the high pinnacle of American Faith, my gently fluttering folds have proved an inspiration to untold millions. Men have followed me into battle with unwavering courage. They have looked upon me as a symbol of national unity. They have prayed that they and their fellow citizens might continue to enjoy the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, which have been granted to every American as the heritage of free men. So long as men love liberty more than life itself, so long as they treasure the priceless privileges bought with the blood of our forefathers; so long as the principles of truth, justice and charity for all remain deeply rooted in human hearts, I shall continue to be the enduring banner of the United States of America."

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