Flag Day festivities
by Daniel Freeman
Members of American Legion Mason-Dixon Post 194 will honor our nation's colors and the service men and women who served under them.
American Legion Mason-Dixon Post 194 of Rising Sun will host their annual Flag Day ceremony this year on Wednesday, June 14.
The flag retirement ceremony has been held on this date at the American Legion in Rising Sun since 1980. The purpose of the ceremony is to properly retire and dispose of the American flag.
"We do it in a formal ceremony and it is a ceremony that we developed for that purpose and that purpose only. We do it (the ceremony) for several reasons, one is the Upper Chesapeake Band will be here to play (patriotic) music before the event, during the event, and after the event. There may also be a bugler that plays to the colors, when we put the flags on the fire, but also they will play taps and pay a final respect to soldiers who have served under that flag," said Legion member and former commander Neil Eller.
The state of the flags that will be retired are worn, tattered and have served their purpose as a symbol to our nation.
"We ask that anyone who has a worn or tattered flag please drop your flag at the legion and we will include it in the retirement ceremony," said American Legion Mason-Dixon Post 194 commander Martin Thompson.
The community donates most of the flags. They also come from cemeteries and neighboring towns.
The flags have been brought throughout the year and can still be brought to the American Legion and placed in the drop-box that is located in front of the legion
Also members of the community can bring there flags the night before the ceremony and drop them off at the pavilion.
"Most of the flags come from the Rising Sun Community, but we also get some from Oxford, Elkton, and other VFW's and American Legions, who do not hold a flag retirement ceremony bringing their (flags) here to be retired," said Eller.
There are around 300 to 500 people who have attended the ceremony each year.
There are three Boy Scout troops, 28, 143, and 92 who are involved with helping the legion with the ceremony. This is a long tradition.
"They (the boy scouts) are here for three purposes, one purpose is for them to be able to receive a merit badge for attending. A second purpose for them to attend is for their color guard to be able to participate. The third purpose is for them to help us with putting the flags on the fire," said Eller.
The flag retirement ceremony will be held rain or shine on Wednesday, June 14 at 7 p.m. at the American Legion's pavilion. The Legion is located at 338 East Main St., Rising Sun.
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