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Flag Retirement Ceremony

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A first for Cedar Key

By Ada Lang

The light was beautiful and the air was crisp Saturday afternoon at City Park, as roughly a dozen people gathered to participate in a flag retirement ceremony. Their ages spanned many decades but both the participants and onlookers all shared an appreciation for the importance of the event.

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Chief of Police Virgil Sandlin, who served 5 years in the Air Force; Ivan Chubb, who served 13 years in both the Army and Navy; Trudy Nichols, whose husband served in the Marine Corps; and “Doc” Jarrels, who received a Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his service in the Army as a Combat Medic led the ceremony.

In addition, three young Cedar Key School FFA members joined in — 8th grade student Taryn Epperson, and 9th grade students Laia Gore and Lauren Bartholemy. Their FFA sponsor and school teacher, Dennis Voyles, friends and family looked on proudly.

Congress has set out laws that pertain to how the flag is displayed, treated and disposed of and strict rules must be followed. The Flag Code states: “The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.”

Chubb, who volunteers with a wide variety of Veteran’s groups, has participated in over 100 flag retirement ceremonies, however this was his first in Cedar Key. After gathering several flags that have become shredded from use, they were placed into a burn barrel, lit on fire and burned until completely reduced to ashes.

Following the burning, both Sandlin and the students were presented certificates of appreciation for their participation.