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By Carissa Sitki
The old tattered flags of Kampsville were retired on Memorial Day in a 2 p.m. ceremony at the Kampsville American Legion.
The service began with a welcome from Commander James Ewen who thanked everyone for attending and the invocation was given by Greg Becker.
Bob Gardner then gave a heartfelt address, explaining the significance of the retirement of an American Flag.
“Today, American Legion Post 1083 is gathered here together in the sight of God to pay our last respects to this symbol of our great nation, and to retire these flags,” began Gardner in his address. “The U.S. Flag Code reads, ‘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.’”
Gardner went on to share some patriotic words about the flag, prior to their retirement.
“I am your flag. I was born on June 14, 1777. I am more than just a piece of cloth shaped into a colorful design. I am the silent sentinel of freedom for the greatest sovereign nation on earth,” Gardner read. “I am the inspiration for which American patriots gave their lives. I am the emblem that stands for 100 percent Americanism.
“I have lead our troops into battle from Valley Forge to Afghanistan. I have been there through the Civil War, two world wars, Gettysburg, Vietnam, the Gulf War, and many other missions.
“I walk in silence with each of our honored dead to their final resting place. I have flown through peace and war.
“My red stripes symbolize the blood spilled in defense of this glorious nation. My white stripes symbolize the burning tears shed by Americans who lost their children in battle. My blue field represents God’s Heaven, under which I fly. My stars, clustered together, unify the fifty states as one for God and country.
“I am Old Glory and I proudly wave on high. Honor me, respect me, and defend me. Never let our enemies tear me down from my lofty position. Keep alight the fires of patriotism, strive earnestly for the spirit of democracy, and keep me always as a symbol of freedom, liberty, and peace in our country.
“When comes the time when I am old and faded, do not let me fly in despair, rather, retire me from my duties only to replace me with a new flag so that I may continue to proudly symbolize our country.”
Gardner’s speech was followed by a 21 Gun Salute from the Post 1083 Firing Squad and Taps played by Becky Weber on her horn.
The flags that had been collected by the Legion were then properly retired and burned by members of the Kampsville Legion.