Flag Retreat, Retirement Kick Off Memorial Day Celebrations

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

Monday is Memorial Day -- a day to honor all those men and women who have served and who are still serving in the military. Sunday night, a special flag ceremony was held to kick off the holiday festivities.

Surrounded by flags, the triumphant music of bugles, and the sound of feet marching against the pavement, dozens who came to the Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado watched as the Grand Valley Combined Honor Guard lowered and folded the American flag -- a tribute to all military personnel.

"[The retreat] is conducted by the military each day at the end of the day," said Bob Henderson, Commander of the Grand Valley Combined Honor Guard.

Then a more somber moment -- an old, worn out American flag was officially retired and burned in a pit of hot coals. It's ashes are set to join those of other flags whose hay days have also passed.

"Each one we have a plaque over the top of it," said Henderson. "And it's being buried here in the cemetery."

As military vets themselves, members of the Honor Guard say they're the ones who are honored to participate in these ceremonies and
share them with others.

"It's to pay homage or honor to our flag, what represents the United States of America," said Henderson.

And on the eve of Memorial Day they hope it serves as a proud reminder of what the federal holiday is truly about.

"Be proud of America and be proud of everybody that fought and served and died, who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country," said Henderson.

A Memorial Day ceremony will be held at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado Monday morning at 10:00am. There will also be a prayer ceremony at the Grand Junction Memorial Gardens Monday afternoon at 1:00pm.

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