The Highland County Veterans Honor Guard commemorated Flag Day at AMVETS Post 61 in Hillsboro on Tuesday, June 14, with a ceremonial burn of a retired United States of America flag.
This year marked the 106th anniversary of Flag Day, which became an official U.S. holiday in 1916 when President Woodrow Wilson marked the anniversary of the creation of the flag of the United States in 1777 by officially establishing June 14 as Flag Day.
The event opened with the posting of the colors by the Highland County Veterans Honor Guard and the Pledge of Allegiance. The guest speaker this year was Ohio Society President of the Sons of the American Revolution Jack Bredenfoerder.
“This flag has been through a lot for us, and I think it’s appropriate that we have designated a day like today to honor the flag,” he said. “It symbolizes our union as a country, and we have many different ideas and perspectives about our country, but there is one thing that brings us together, and it’s our flag, so it should be respected and treated accordingly.
Gerold Wilkin of the Highland County Veterans Honor Guard also spoke at the event.
“I’d like to think that all of you here are patriots because number one, you are here, and a patriot is anyone who supports the history of those who have given the maximum sacrifice,” he said. “I always like to remind people that no soldier will ever be forgotten until the last person on earth says their name.”
Wilkin pointed out that people often incorrectly refer to the Stars and Stripes as the American flag. “We all make the big mistake of calling it the American flag, but it’s not an American flag,” he said. “If that was the case, our ego as big as it is, would say that we control Canada, Central America, South America, and the whole American Continent, but nevertheless, it’s the United States of America flag.”
The ceremony concluded with the burning of the flag. “Today is a solemn celebration of one flag that represents all the flags that have to eventually be destroyed, and those that will be done by the AMVETS Post 61 and by the VFW 9094,” said Wilkin. “A flag has to burn in its entirety, so we ask that we all pay a constant tribute to the flag when it’s being retired, and, if you could, you could say a silent prayer for those that are in harm’s way or all those that have already given their lives for that flag during the actual burning of the flag itself.”
Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.