Flags Retired at East High Ceremony
Junior ROTC cadets collect flags and conduct retirement
ANCHORAGE - When Old Glory can no longer proudly fly her stars and stripes, she ends up at East High School, being retired with dozens of her comrades.
“To me what the flag symbolizes is very important and I hate to see a flag being flown that's not in the condition to do so,” said Battalion Commander Eric Rudolph.
Junior ROTC cadets with East High School’s “Thunderbird Battalion” gave the flags a customary send off… by sending them up in flames.
“I think of it as a great honor, doing something for the community and the country,” said Platoon Sergeant Devvonne Waters.
“It's really a symbol of who we are and East in particular doing this, being the largest school in the state, having this sort of ceremony to bring light to the fact this is what we need to do to our flags is a really important step,” said Lindsey Smith, the battalion’s Executive Officer.
The cadets collected nearly 100 flags from veterans’ organizations around the community. Retiring them is a time consuming task, as each on gets its own pomp and circumstance, being saluted twice before going into the burn barrel.
“It gives the cadet battalion a chance to be a part of the community. People see these kids walking around in uniform and they don't know what it's about, but seeing stuff like this, they may appreciate it more,” said Rudolph.
The first year they had 40 flags for the retirement ceremony, and the program keeps growing. Cadets hope to have even more next year.
“I am very proud. I think JROTC doing this is one of the best things we do all year,” said Smith.
Students say it’s worth it to take the time to give the flags a proper goodbye and send them out in a blaze of glory.