GREENSBORO - Veterans and community members honored old glory in a flag retirement ceremony Saturday. Organizations across the country perform this community service to oversee the proper disposal of worn and faded American flags.
It was a stirring tribute at Elks Lodge #602 as a small group of veterans separated a faded flag's stars and stripes, laying them to rest one by one in a fire.
"We put the stripes in in the order of the states that they commemorate on the flag, but the proper disposal of them is burning," said U.S. Air Force veteran Rick Fuller.
This was the lodge's sixth annual flag retirement ceremony, which it holds every year just before Thanksgiving. It was an opportunity for people in the community to see their old, frayed flags retired in accordance with accepted tradition.
"It's also to show our respects toward veterans that are past and as well as present," said U.S. Marine Corps veteran Mike Parrish.
The ceremony was rich in meaning for veterans and onlookers alike.
"I fought for this country,” Fuller said. “I bled for this country and that flag is red, white and blue and it commemorates and stands for everything that I believe in."
"I wanted to be here because I'm very patriotic,” Kim Fuquay said. “I love America and this is a great way to show respect for our flag, which represents our freedom."
Parrish said some people throughout the nation's history have desecrated the American flag by burning it. Ceremonies like this one gave the flag the respect it deserves.
"This is a very dignified way to show the respect for the United States as well as the flag itself," he said.