Museum will retire flags on Veteran’s Day

Published 11:30 pm Friday, November 4, 2011

The Pioneer Museum of Alabama will host a flag retirement ceremony as part of its Veterans Day recognition on Friday.

Rachael Greve, museum director, said the museum has 40 flags to be decommissioned.

“We decided that retiring these flags on Veterans Day would be especially meaningful,” Greve said. “We have invited Girl Scout troops from around the area to participate and all veterans to be our honored guests.”

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The Flag Retirement ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. Friday and the public is invited.

“Many people have never been to a flag retirement ceremony and many aren’t aware of the symbolism of the flag,” Greve said. “To retire a flag, it has to be stripped of it stripes and its cannon and each part of the flag disposed of properly and ceremoniously.”

For many years, the Boy Scouts of America were the only youth group commissioned to decommission the flag of the United State of America. In the last few years, the Girl Scouts of America have been given that honor.

“Our local Girl Scout troop has the honor of retiring the first flag,” Greve said. “However, because it takes a lot of time to strip a flag and to properly decommission it, the ceremony will include only the retirement of one flag. The other 39 flags will have been prepared for retirement and they will be decommissioned following the public ceremony.”

Greve said her favorite part of the flag retirement ceremony is when the cannon is presented to a veteran and the presenter whispers in the veteran’s ear, “We will always remember.”

“It’s very touching,” she said.

The Troy Girl Scout troop will assist with the raising of the new flag that will fly over the museum. Those in attendance will join together in saying the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag and be invited to sing a song honoring America.

Following the ceremony, light refreshments will be served in the Museum Village. The Girl Scouts will participate in a short workshop to learn about things they can do to be contributing “patriots,” such as voting, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and writing their Legislative representatives.

“The Girl Scouts who participate will earn patriotism badges,” Greve said.

The Girl Scouts and all veterans will be admitted to the museum free of charge on Veterans Day and they are all invited to join the museum staff for the Flag Retirement Ceremony Saturday.

Greve said Veterans Day is special to her because her dad, Bobby Jordan, is a veteran and she always wants to honor his service and that of the thousands upon thousands of others who have served.

“The American Flag is a symbol of the lives and sacrifices of the brave men and women who served so that we can live in the greatest country in the world,” she said. “Everyone is invited to join us Friday as we honor our veterans and retire the flag under which they served.”