Kennedy Hosts 10th Anniversary Flag Retirement Ceremony

Historical flags along both sides of the walking path in Hallquist Park formed a walk of honor leading to the site of the 10th anniversary Flag Retirement Ceremony held by Kennedy Pride. There, a four-armed display held about 200 flags that were to be honorably retired. Many had come from the poles around town where Kennedy Pride has made it possible for their display. Many also were brought by residents who wished to have their own privately used flags retired.

Co-President Linda Bish welcomed everyone to the service. Co-President Shirley Leyman then led all gathered in the Pledge of Allegiance. Town Supervisor Kelly Snow officially acknowledged that the flags had become unserviceable as a result of service and should be honorable retired. Highway Superintendent Larry Mee and U.S. Air Force veteran Chad Sischo concurred, and stated that they were ready to properly retire the emblems of service to our country.

This moving moment, as flags which had done their duty well were giving their final service by being honorable retired, was made more memorable be the fact that retired U.S. Air Force veteran Chad Sischo, in his fatigues, and his son, Bradley Sischo, USAF A1C, in his dress uniform, performed the honor of igniting the flags, and stood at attention, one on each side of the flags, and saluted while these banners were consumed by the flames. “Amazing Grace” was played by bagpipes and drums by Julie and Tim Hewitt, in tribute to these symbols of our country.

Roland Swanson, master of ceremonies, then presented his remarks on the Uniform Services Code and its description of the Flag Folding Ceremony. Mr. Swanson told about this uplifting way to honor the flag on special days. Many people do not realize that when the flag is folded into the familiar triangular shape, showing the field of blue with white stars, each fold along the way represents one of the principals on which our country was founded. While he was telling those gathered what each fold meant, Richard and Joan Swanson, portraying George and Martha Washington, demonstrated this dramatic service. When the flag had been completely folded to its tricorn shape, Roland Swanson reverently carried it over and placed it on the veterans’ memorial in Hallquist Park, and gave it a final salute.

The Hewitts played “Taps.” The Rev. Michael Herdzik then gave a benediction, thanking all those who gave their service to provide our country the freedoms we enjoy today. Roland Swanson thanked everyone who prepared for the evening and dismissed all to enjoy the community picnic.