By Nancy Reardon
Between 8,000 and 10,000 worn-out American flags were respectfully “retired” in the veterans section of Elmwood Cemetery on Dec. 7, which is also Pearl Harbor Day.
Director of Veterans Services Paul Jensen led the ceremony. He also honored the 2.403 servicemen and -women, as well as civilians, who lost their lives during the Japanese attack on that fateful day in 1941.
Nearly 30 veterans, civilians and local dignitaries were in attendance at Elmwood. Army veteran 1st Sgt. Joseph Augusta, commander of the DAV in Lawrence, had the honor of sending the first flag into its retirement by tossing it into the fire pit. Jensen then asked everyone else to join in on retiring the rest of the flags.
A flag, when no longer fit to fly, should be retired from service and be burned in a dignified manner, such as this ceremony. The city has several locations to drop off retired flags year-round: the Veterans Services Office at City Hall, the VFW on River Street, the American Legion on Broadway and a bin located at Elmwood Cemetery next to the veterans section.