WAXAHACHIE — With honor and dignity, 140 American flags were formally retired during a Saturday afternoon ceremony at the Waxahachie VFW Post 3894. The Midlothian Sons of the American Legion, Chris Kyle Squadron 388, and members of the Waxahachie Girl Scout Troop 878 Honor Guard jointly held the ceremony.
As the worn flags flying were lowered for the last time, Dr. Randy Leach played “Taps.”
After inspecting the worn and tattered flag, Robert Sommier, American Legion squadron adjutant, saluted and said, “This flag has served its usefulness and needs to be retired with honors.”
While members of the Girl Scout Honor Guard and other American Legion members prepared the flag for retirement, Meredith Hallett told the attending members, “We will begin by separating the blue canon containing the 50 white stars that represent each state from the 13 red and white stripes representing the 13 original colonies of our nation thereby rendering it, no longer a flag.”
Along with the American flags, State of Texas Flags with similar wear were also declared retired and prepared for the final portion of the retirement ceremony.
Those retired included the ceremonial flags that once flew in front of the VFW hall.
The final stage of the ceremony was the burning of the flags in a specially made fire pit. As the ceremonial flags were laid to rest in the fire pit, the remaining flags were readied for burning.
Once all the flags were consumed in the fire pit, their ashes were ceremonially placed in a grave in the VFW courtyard.
“This is really pretty cool. It has been an honor and an experience to see all the people who came out here today to see and be a part of this retirement,” said Hallett, who was assisted by fellow Girl Scout honor guard member, Destini Stout.
For Hallett, Stout and other members of the Guard, flag ceremonies are a part of their mission.
“Besides retirement ceremonies, through the girl scouts, we do opening ceremonies and flag presentations. We have opened many professional sports events. We also have an education program teaching the history of our flag and others,” Hallett said.
The Midlothian American Legion post accepts flags that are in need of retirement and will hold ceremonies similar to Saturday's services three times a year. The next retirement will be June 9 and will be followed by a ceremony on Veterans Day.