“It has ever been my staunch companion and protection,” wrote William Driver. “Savages and heathens, lowly and oppressed, hailed and welcomed it at the far end of the wide world. Then, why should it not be called Old Glory?”
Our American Flag, a symbol for success, righteousness and sovereignty. A three colored piece of material that cost our military men and women more than money can buy. Walt Whitman wrote “I have a little flag….It was taken by the Secesh [secessionists] in a cavalry fight, and rescued by our men in a bloody little skirmish,” “It cost three men’s lives, just to get one little flag, four by three.”
1000 of these beautiful symbols flew over the Mesquite Recreation center Nov. 6 through 13 in honor of those men and women who fought to defend the very principals the flag stands for and especially for the men and women who paid the ultimate price in that defense.
During the ceremony Exchange Club President Pam Gagnon and Paul Benedict presented Jim Lynch, President of the Mesquite Veteran’s Center, a check for $5000 stating, “Jim, the Mesquite Veterans Center is very special to the Exchange Club, you fulfill and important mission every day in assisting the veterans in our community, we want to help.”
The Exchange Club of Mesquite presents the 1000 Flags over Mesquite each year to honor the veterans but this year they focused on women veterans in the opening ceremony emceed each year by Benedict, Air Force Veteran and Exchange Club Member. Benedict also emcees the closing ceremony which included some very special events. Karen Ransdall had the honor of singing the national anthem during this year’s closing ceremony.
This year their closing included a special Flag Retirement Ceremony led by the Mesquite Fire department. Army veterans Kelly and Willie Martinez, daughter and son of Fire Captain William Martinez, served to hold and present the stripes during the ceremony. Each soldier served eight years in the U. S. Army; Willie is currently in the reserves, Kelly is a college student and mother.
Dennis Hangey brought an emotional end to this year’s 1000 Flags over Mesquite and the close of the flag retirement ceremony as he played Amazing Grace on the Bagpipes while slowly walking and
finally disappearing among the flags into the field of honor.
A full slideshow of the closing ceremony is available at: https://youtu.be/GQg3nFMdUH8