Groups team up to host ceremony
Two local groups are teaming up to show their patriotism and honor "Old Glory" – the American Flag this weekend as they host the first annual flag retirement ceremony.
With support from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2885, the Minden High JROTC Crimson Tide Battalion are making themselves available to the public, so that flags which are no longer serviceable can be retired in a proper fashion.
"A lot of people call it a flag burning, and the students are learning that there is a respectful way to treat the American flag," said Robert Peden LTC, US Army (Ret.) Senior Army Instructor for the Crimson Tide Battalion.
According to Peden, the idea of a local flag retirement ceremony was brought about by the VFW. Don Watson, who is a teacher at Webster Junior High and a VFW member, helped connect the Crimson Battalion with Minden's VFW.
"Eventually, JROTC will be responsible for a yearly retirement ceremony," Peden said. "That is what we want for the kids and that is what the VFW wants.
"Part of the program is to show these kids that being a part of something is more than just saying, 'Oh yeah, I'm a part of a team,'" he continued. "You have to ask yourself, 'What have you done?' You have to contribute to your team. We call that service learning."
Peden hopes the annual ceremony will become a public learning event.
"Everyone should know how to properly retire an American Flag and be able to do so on an annual basis," he said. "With this event, local businesses and residents will easily be able to drop off their flags or witness the ceremony."
Peden said he and the cadets are learning from this as well.
"In my over 20-year military career, I have never seen a flag retirement ceremony in person," he said. "I think a lot of people have not seen it, and as a community we can learn together as we respect our flag."
Flags, which should no longer be displayed (tattered, worn, fraying, dirty, or discolored) may be brought to the front office of Webster Junior High School or Minden High School during their business hours.
The JROTC will then prepare the flags for the ceremony, which will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, September 15 at Webster Parish Fairgrounds, 800 Goodwill St.
A free pancake breakfast will be sponsored by the VFW from 8 until 9 a.m. before the ceremony. Donations are appreciated.
"We are looking forward to participation from the community and are grateful for the contributions from the VFW."