Cooperative Flag Retirement Ceremony

Flag folding ceremony, from left, c/SCPO Haigel, c/Ensign Gibbs, Legion members Rodger Presley and Harold Madison

Special to Atmore News

February is Americanism Month.
Americanism, one of the American Legion’s four pillars, is simply the love of America, loyalty to its ideals and institutions, allegiance to its flag, willingness to defend it against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and a desire to pass on the blessings of liberty to future generations. No other organization offers such a wide variety of programs designed to enhance the attributes of good citizenship, discipline, community service, education and patriotism as The American Legion.
As we pause during the month of February to reflect on what Americanism means to us, it is the perfect time for us to rededicate ourselves to engage in meaningful activities and programs in our own community that perpetuate Americanism.
To fulfill our mission to pass on the blessings of liberty to future generations and share our allegiance to our flag, the Billy Glenn Rushing Post 90 of the American Legion hosted a cooperative Flag Retirement with the Navy Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) from Northview High School Saturday, February 19. Although the unit was conducting “Orienteering” training, Chief Petty Officer Simpkins was enthusiastic and made sure to have Northview High School’s JROTC program participate.
c/Ensign Gibbs and c/Senior Chief Petty Officer (c/SCPO) Haigel were excellent representatives of the unit. Both were very professional as they assisted with all facets of the ceremony: lowering the tattered flag, hoisting the new flag; 4-man flag fold; and performing the first flag retirement of the day. c/Ensign Gibbs placed the flag in the brazier and c/SCPO Haigel ignited the flag. Both respectfully rendered military “honors” as the flag began to burn.
Neither had participated in a Flag Retirement Ceremony before and both were glad they attended this ceremony. Both expressed a desire to participate in the future and c/Ensign Gibbs asked, “if it were possible for members of the American Legion to speak to their unit.” At the conclusion of the initial flag retirement, c/Ensign Gibbs and c/SCPO Haigel joined Post members for lunch and fellowship and naturally they had to listen to a few “sea stories.”
The Post retired 100 flags throughout the day. All ashes of the retired flags will be transported to the Old Glory Vault at Cheaha State Park for permanent interment.
Billy Glenn Rushing Post 90 is very thankful for the cooperation and support of the Northview JROTC unit led by Commander Ahalt and Chief Petty Officer Simpkins. We look forward to future cooperative events.

Dave Graham is commander of Billy Glenn Rushing Post 90, Atmore.