Rifle honors country in flag retirement ceremony
Days before Independence Day, Boy Scouts and veterans joined to honor their country and flag in a ceremony to retire flags no longer in use. The Sunday ceremony ensured old flags throughout west Garfield County will never be abused. It was held at the West Garfield County Veterans Memorial outside Deerfield Park in Rifle.
With the help of local fire departments, members of the Rifle American Legion Kelly-Hanson Post No. 78 and Rifle Boys Scouts gathered old flags that were no longer in use and took them to the memorial for the annual ceremony. The memorial, which includes a pit for the ashes of retired flags, celebrated its first anniversary last month.
“The pit is the best thing we ever thought of,” said Jan Detwiler, co-chair of the Rifle American Legion. “Before we would just dig a pit and burn flags, and this is something we are really lucky to have.”
“We try to do it around Flag Day each year because you never want to throw flags away. This is the best way to honor them.”
While the tradition with the pit started last year, the American Legion Kelly-Hanson Post No. 78 and Boys Scouts have honored old flags for years.
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“We need younger blood and we need to get the younger generation interested in joining and helping serve,” she said.
John Scalzo, chair of the Rifle American Legion, said that the pit was paid for entirely through donations. He would like to see more done with the memorial in the coming years, including landscaping and an irrigation system.
“We would love to see some trees in and around the park to help beautify the park and help show respect for veterans,” Detwiler added.
Anybody throughout west Garfield County that has old flags they would like to see retired in next year’s ceremony can take them to local fire stations or their nearest American Legion or Boys Scouts of America.
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