American flags retired in ceremony hosted by local scouts, veterans

Published 6:13 pm Sunday, June 6, 2021

By Galen Mark LaFrancis

Special to The Natchez Democrat

More than 100 American worn flags were “retired” recently during a pre-Memorial Day ceremony, organized by veterans and Scout groups at the VFW Post 9573 and Home With Heroes building.

“We are gathered here today to destroy these flags that have been deemed no longer serviceable. It is proclaimed that these flags have served well,” said Ricky Warren, scoutmaster and master of ceremonies. “These flags have inspired those who desire a taste of freedom, and it represented hope by those oppressed by tyranny and terror.”

Warren said, “The American flag is the most recognized banner in the world. These flags serve as constant reminders to all of us that we live in a country where our freedom has been purchased by blood, sweat, tears, and the ultimate sacrifice.”

Individuals hand-carried each folded flag in their arms and presented the flags to Scout Brent Warren who then carefully placed it on the fire. Each flag was saluted and a bell was rung to signal the flag’s retirement.

The ceremony is one of several held throughout the year in the community to honor scores of used flags donated by area residents and businesses.

John Floyd, commander of VFW Post 9573 said, “The American Flag is a symbol of our freedom and should always be on the tallest pole, nothing to the right of it. If you do not love the flag leave the United States. When the flag is worn or torn, please bring to your local veteran’s organization for the proper retirement. There have been a lot of veterans who have died to protect our freedom and there is still a lot that will give their life for the flag of this great country.”

The ceremony included posting of the colors, Pledge of Allegiance, a prayer, and other remarks. The Natchez Fire Department was on standby to assist, and veteran Doug McCallister provided the cauldron where the flags were burned. McCallister concluded the ceremony by playing “Taps” on his bugle.

Another ceremony is planned later this year.

Those who have flags to be “retired” may bring them to the VFW/Home With Heroes Building on Seargent S. Prentiss Drive Thursday or Friday 9 a.m. to noon.