6/20/2013 3:00:00 PM Flag Day Brings Special Meaning to Veterans
American Legion Post 185 Commander Donnie Boydston (pictured) has deep feelings for the United States flag after serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. Commander Boydston led the flag retirement ceremony on Flag Day in which around 400 worn, faded and torn flags were retired. Approximately 80 people attended the event at the Switzerland County 4-H Fairgrounds.
Troy Stafford (left) served as sergeant-of-arms in the flag retirement ceremony held on Flag Day at the Switzerland County 4-H Fairgrounds. He’s pictured with his daughter, Shelby Stafford, who is serving in the army national guard.
There's significance in the flag for all Americans, but special meaning for military veterans.
Members of American Legion Post 185 and VFW Post 5396, along with Boy Scouts, participated in a flag retirement ceremony on Flag Day at the Switzerland County 4-H Fairgrounds that was attended by around 80 people.
About 400 flag were disposed in the ceremony, said Post 185 commander Donnie Boydston. They were all flags deemed to be "unserviceable" because they've become worn, faded and torn. All had served their purpose to fly boldly and proudly as a symbol of the United States, but because of their condition they can no longer be flown.
For Donnie Boydston, it's more than just a ceremony that gives honor to the flag. "While watching the flags burn, it was a time for me to reflect on my time of deployment in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the key missions I performed while I was there. For others who served, it was a time that they were able to reflect on their military service and the key missions that they went on. For them, it was very moving."
Donnie Boydston has participated in many military ceremonies, including serving honor guard detail at Fort Bragg for servicemen who died in action. "There has been a lot of blood, sweat and tears for this flag and this country," he said.
Donnie Boydston served as the commander of the ceremony as he exchanged commands with Terry Stafford as the sergeant-of-arms, with seven riflemen, a first vice commander, second vice commander, two post banner holders participating in the ceremony, along with several veterans in attendance.
The flags burned for nearly 40 minutes until they became ashes to ensure the complete burning of the flags, which are to be replaced by new flags to renew the commitment to the flag, and respect for the greatness of the United States.
Jefferson-Craig Fire Department and Switzerland County EMS were on hand at the ceremony.