Area law enforcement officers, veterans and residents had the chance to retire their flags properly Friday night.
Thanks to the support of local law enforcement and veteran organizations, a flag retirement ceremony was held Friday evening at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center in Lebanon.
Support for the event came from Vietnam Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legions, Wilson and Rutherford County Sheriffs Department, police departments and fire departments.
Worn, torn and tattered American and Tennessee flags were retired properly throughout the event by depositing them in a designated burn barrel of fire.
The event served as a time for the public to pay tribute and honor veterans, cops and firefighters and have served or are currently serving.
“We’re here to pay tribute to those who have given all and for those who have worked or are working for our freedom,” Ken Kackley said.
Kackley said he felt an event like this gave people the opportunity to say thank you to those who often serve a thankless job.
“Often times we don’t hear police or veterans being thanked,” Kackley said. “But these people go to work in the morning and kiss their wife and kids goodbye and don’t know if they’ll be back. So they need to be thanked.”
The ceremony started with Young Marines retiring 13 flags, one for each of the colonies.
“We retire one each for those 13 colonies because that’s where we got started and without them we wouldn’t be here,” Kackley said.
Next, flags were retired for all of those who served our country, as veterans from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, among many others, each stepped to the barrel to retire a flag for their service.
Flags were also retired for each branch of the military: Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard.
“We also want to honor the ‘soldiers on the street,’ our police officers,” Kackley said.
Along with Wilson and Rutherford County Sheriff’s Departments’ officers and Lebanon Police Department officers, local firefighters and Wilson County Emergency Management Agency officials also took part and retired flags.
Approximately 300 different flags were retired throughout the ceremony, Kackley said.
The public was also able to bring their personal flags to the event to be retired, as well as retire flags in memory of a family member or friend.