It was a gorgeous fall morning as the park unfurled into an array of awesome color in preparation of honoring America’s Veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
On Saturday, November 12, 2011 Lake Anna State Park held a United States and Virginia Flag Retirement Ceremony under the leadership of Boy Scout Troop 14 from Wilderness Community Church in Spotsylvania County.
Park guests and the community were invited and encouraged to bring a flag with its history to retire during the ceremony. Folks gathered at 10 a.m. in the campground campfire circle as the Scouts lead the Pledge of Alliance followed by an elegant flag retirement ceremony. The “United States Federal Law provides that “The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.” (36 U.S.C. 176(k)).
With honor and respect, each flag was presented, history given and with proper etiquette the flags were inspected and condemned as unserviceable. “These flags reached their present state in proper service of tribute, memory and love. Respect was paid to the old flag.
“I AM OLD GLORY”: I am old glory; for more the 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.”
A flag ceases to be a flag when it is cut into pieces
As the parts of the flag were placed in the fire let us remember… “Old flags never die, they just get fired up!” These flags of our Country retire to a clean and purging flame. As they yield their substance to the fire, may the Holy Light spread over us and bring our hearts renewed devotion to God and Country. Amen”
Scout Troop Bugler, Ben Rush sounded taps
Absolute silence came as Scout Troop Bugler, Ben Rush sounded taps. Following the ceremony the Scouts maintained a watch over the fire, until no traces of the flag remnants remain. Then the ashes were collected and buried. The grommets of the flags retired were retained and presented to the scouts and family members as tokens of their efforts.
On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in the eleventh month of each year the world rejoices and celebrates Veteran’s Day, a federal holiday, giving thanks and remembering those who fought for peace.
Ceremony script quotes sources include: Birthplace of Taps was here in Virginia in 1862.