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Community groups unite for flag retirement

MADISON – Veteran, civic and school groups worked together to conduct a formal flag retirement ceremony in Madison on March 30.

The ceremony was staged at the Captain Jesse Ollie Wikle Jr. Veterans Memorial Park at the intersection of Front and Church streets in Madison.

Knights of Columbus sponsored the event, with support from other area organizations, including Madison American Legion, Post 229; local chapter of Disabled American Veterans or DAV; Boy Scout Troop 201; and Air Force Junior ROTC unit from Bob Jones High School. 

“A number of citizens including veterans of all branches of the Armed Forces and conflicts, between 50 to 75 people, braved a threat of an afternoon storm to observe the ceremony,” Post 229 Commander Larry Vannoy said.

The ceremony was the second of two events held in the Huntsville-Madison area to recognize the 2019 observance of Vietnam Veterans Day. March 29 “of each year has been officially designated as ‘Vietnam Veterans Day’ to honor all those men and women who served during the Vietnam Conflict, which officially ended on March 29, 1973,” Vannoy said.

The other ceremony was held at the Huntsville Veterans Memorial early on March 30. “The flag retirement ceremony was planned for the same day as the Vietnam Veterans Day observance as a fitting acknowledgement to service and sacrifice of that generation of service members,” Vannoy said.

During the retirement function, old and tattered American flags that government agencies, private businesses and local citizens turned in were disposed of in a reverent, proper manner. Approximately 100 flags were retired during the ceremony.

For the ceremonial retirement, the used and tattered American flags were burned in the park’s fire pit that a Boy Scout had built for an Eagle project in 2018.

Madison American Legion, Post 229 holds their regular meetings monthly on second Thursdays at 7 p.m. in Lunar Lodge at 740 Eastview Drive in Madison. Individuals who are interested in becoming involved with American Legion or its Women’s Auxiliary can call 256-258-8534, email Commander@americanlegionpost229.org or visit Adjutant@americanlegionpost229.org or AmericanLegionPost229.org.

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