Heads were bowed and hands placed over hearts as the red, white and blue was honored in a flag retirement ceremony last night.
The ceremony was hosted by Boy Scout Troop 25 and their scout master, Luke Ellington, Upson-Lee High School NJROTC, and the John Houstoun Chapter of the Daughter's of the American Revolution and held at the Civic Center track.
The flags were prepared for burning by Troop 25 by separating them into their red and white stripes and blue field. The ashes that remained after the burning will be buried near the scout hut of Troop 25.
Commander Jim Jarvis presided over the ceremony with the National Anthem performed by Jessica Brown, a poem by DAR Regent Peggy Greene, a benediction by Harry Green and Taps performed by Jeremy Arnold.
“We are not burning flags; we are retiring a symbol of America's honor, courage and strength,” Jarvis said. “The flags we retire this evening have flown over schools, businesses and homes in Thomaston and it is proper that we give them a deserved retirement.”
Local veterans including Gary Cox, Bob Fletcher, Stewart Davis, Thomaston Mayor Hays Arnold, George Ruff, David Beland, Ken Asmussen and Grover Worsham participated in the ceremony.
Side by side veteran and scout walked to the barrel to retire the flag with dignity and honor. As the flame grew hire the crowd stood silent.
“Now I am just a memory,” Jarvis said as he read about the American Flag. “But if there is a tear in your eye or a lump in your throat; if you felt a shiver in your spine as you watched me burn, then I will be back the next time you need me and my colors will be fresh and bright and my edges won't be ragged anymore.
“When I climb to the top of the flagpole, I'll wave at you and remember the love and respect that you have showed me here tonight.
“So when you see me, stand straight, place your hand over your hearts and I'll salute you, waving back and I'll know that you remembered.”