Over 600 flags retired in tribute ceremony; STGnews Photo Gallery

Over 600 American flags were retired by ceremonial burning at the Flag Retirement Ceremony and Military Tribute at the Dixie Sunbowl, St. George, Utah, June 14, 2014 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Smoke rose skyward as worn and tattered American flags were retired by burning in the middle of the Dixie Sunbowl Saturday night.

People gathered at the Dixie Sunbowl for the Flag Retirement Ceremony and Military Tribute that was held in honor of Flag Day. Active members of the Utah National Guard, veterans groups, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and members of the St. George City Council were on hand at the event where over 600 flags were retired by fire.

This flag touches lives,” said Rev. Jimi Kestin, of Solomon’s Porch Four Square Fellowship Church, before opening the ceremony with prayer. “The flag stands for freedom,” he said, also noting it was a reminder of freedom wrought by the sacrifice of military service.

Following Kestin’s prayer, the anthems of each branch of the military – the United States Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard – were played by a five-piece brass band. Active and veteran military men and women, young and old, stood and were recognized as the theme representing their branch of service resonated through the Sunbowl.

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Videocast by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Brown, of the Army National Guard, was a featured guest speaker at the event.

“I hope we leave with a renewed sense of interest in the flag,” he said.

Just as men and women in uniform are honored for their service, Brown said, “tonight we’ll be showing respect to each flag for its service.”

He also spoke on reflection, asking people to remember the meaning behind the flag and what it represented; “our freedoms have been bought with much blood and sacrifice.”

Poems and songs focusing on the flag were then recited by others, among which were “My Name Is Old Glory,” and “The Ragged Old Flag.”

The 13 Folds of The American Flag” was also recited as members of the National Guard walked onto the field and folded the flag bit-by-bit as the meaning behind each fold was explained.

As words were concluded, the ceremonial burning of over 600 flags donated to the event began. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, each with folded flag in hand, marched out to the field and handed the flags over to waiting National Guard soldiers. Taking the flags, the soldiers then gave the flags to the flames in a scene reminiscent of a funeral pyre.

The official program ended with a short display of fireworks, after which point the public was invited to participate in the ceremony by carrying the remaining flags and handing them off to the soldiers.

Present at the event were St. George City Council members Joe Bowcutt, Bette Arial, and Michele Randall. Bruce Solomon of the Mayor’s Veterans Action Committee was also in attendance, as were members of the St. George Lions Club which helped organize the event.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery. 

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Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.


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1 Comment

  • Kristin Schwiermann June 15, 2014 at 8:36 am

    I was taught out of respect to wear white gloves while doing this ceremony.

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