Shipmates hold service for worn U.S. flags
FLAGS RETIRED James Moultrie, left, treasurer and master of arms of the local Fleet Reserve Association Shipmates, Jamie Hornsby, president, and William "Flash" Gordon, vice-president and chaplain, salute as they dispose of unserviceable U.S. flags. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
June 15, 2004
A group of local military veterans honored Flag Day on Monday by disposing about 24 worn out U.S. flags in a rarely seen ceremony.
Members of the Meridian Branch 264 Fleet Reserve Association Shipmates, made up of U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard veterans, respectfully folded tattered and faded flags.
The group's vice president and chaplain, William "Flash" Gordon, a U.S. Navy veteran, gently placed the flags on a rack inside a metal trash barrel and poured gasoline over them.
Shipmates Treasurer and Master-of-Arms James Moultrie, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, burned the flags by dropping a match into the barrel during a ceremony outside of the group's building on Highway 39 North.
U.S. Navy veteran and Shipmates President Jamie Hornsby said this was a good year for receiving worn flags. The Fleet Reserve Association collects flags throughout the year and holds the disposal service annually.
Some the flags prepared for the ceremony were not red, white, and blue anymore. A few had faded to pink, white, and gray, while people could see through others.
Al Rosenbaum, former Meridian mayor and a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, attended the ceremony and helped fold a flag to be incinerated.
The ceremony included a prayer and a final salute to the banners as they burned.
Jimmy Reece, a Shipmate member and U.S. Navy veteran of the Korean War and Vietnam, said the ceremony is important because many people don't realize how to properly dispose of the flag or what many veterans went through to protect it.
For more information on flag disposal or to turn over an unserviceable flag to the Fleet Reserve Association for proper disposal, call Gordon at 482-5289.