Veterans retire flag

Published 4:14 pm Monday, November 12, 2012

Local veterans unfurl the new American flag, which will fly about Atmore City Hall.

Even Mother Nature seemed to pay tribute to U.S. military veterans Monday as the rain held off just long enough for an abbreviated version of the annual flag retirement ceremony to conclude at the Atmore veterans monument in front of city hall.

Atmore’s Veterans of Foreign Wars, post 7016 Commander Billy Gates led the ceremony, which exists to ensure Atmore’s main American Flag is disposed of in the correct manner and replaced with a new version each year.

“We have come to a point in time where the media shows people all around the world and here at home burning the flag,” Gates said. “Because of this, people think it is always wrong to burn the flag, which not correct.”

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Gates said the burning of a flag is the proper way to dispose of a worn out flag in a dignified manner.

Before being destroyed by fire, Atmore City Hall’s flag was inspected by the vice commanders to ensure that it was indeed, no longer fit to fly.

Following the disposal of the flag, a new version was ceremonially raised to the top of the flag pole, where it will serve as a symbol of freedom until it too is unworthy of display.

Gates said, typically, flag retirements are done each year in July on Flag Day, but added Atmore’s VFW and American Legion members decided to bump the service back to November in hopes of more favorable weather.

Members of the VFW and the American Legion, Post 90 were on hand Monday to assist in the ceremony.