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Flag ceremony

Ceremony honors Old Glory and all it stands for

ANTRIM — Home, hope and the good old U.S.A.

Veterans and other community members passed a 48-star American flag around at a Flag Day ceremony Friday evening and talked about what the flag represents to them.

"It's a symbol of our country and I'm proud to salute it," said Robert Wing, a member of the U.S. Airforce Reserve.

Antrim-based Boy Scout Troop 2 and Myers-Prescott-Olson American Legion Post 50 hosted the Flag Day flag retirement ceremony in Memorial Park.While holding the flag, U.S. Army veteran and Post 50 chaplain Ted Brown recalled being stationed in North Korea in the early 1970s — at a peace conference center where North Korea and South Korea would meet for peace talks — and the feeling he would get seeing the Stars & Stripes fly high.

"The flag just means a lot to me," he said.

Kristin Batty of Greenfield said the flag is a symbol of home to her.

As the daughter of an Air Force man, the wife of a former Marine and as a parent "the flag represents hope for the future of our county," said Tania Grady of Francestown.

Antrim resident Jeana White said, "What I think is interesting is if you travel all over the world you only see flags on top of the buildings. I think America is the only country, the United States, where I've seen people fly flags in front of their houses and I think that says a lot."

Scoutmaster Brian Beihl said the tradition of passing the flag around at the ceremony is fairly new.

"Everybody's got a great story of why it's important. I just love doing this," Beihl said.

After the flag was passed around, Beihl started the flag retirement.

"The white stands for purity. The red stands for courage," Beihl said as Boy Scout Sean Campbell, 17, cut away the stripes of a flag to be retired and the pieces were ceremoniously dropped into a fire.

The veterans and others community members were then asked to come forward and place flags in the fire.

About 1,000 flags collected from the communities of Antrim, Bennington and Francestown over the past three years were burned.

The community only holds the flag retirement ceremony every two or three years.