Post 555 performs flag retirement ceremony at Covenant

Published 2:22 pm Friday, February 24, 2017

PELHAM – Thirty students gathered around the flagpole at Covenant Classical School and Daycare to watch the Matthew Blount American Legion Post 555 retire a torn and tattered flag on Friday, Feb. 24, at 9:30 a.m.

School office manager Gina Gentry said two classes, Pre-k and kindergarten, attended the event.

“It’s so important for them to understand the importance of the flag and to honor it,” Gentry said. “We want them to see that it is something that is to be held in high esteem and that there is meaning behind it.”

Gentry said the school has a flag retirement ceremony every year.

“We could easily buy another flag and replace it ourselves, but we want to honor the flag by retiring it properly.”

Post 555 Honor Guard members Jerry McClain, Charles Geter, Don Colvard and Kenneth Paschal performed the ceremony, which takes 10-15 minutes.

As the flag was lowered, the “Retreat” bugle call played, said Frank Lakotich, a trustee and Honor Guard member. He said “Retreat” used to be played to signal the end of the official duty day.

It has grown to become the bugle call, which is a short song, played when lowering a flag.

As the flag was being raised, the “Reveille” bugle call played. “Reveille” is a morning bugle call that was originally played when troops gathered to start the day.

Over time, Lakotich said it’s grown to become the bugle call played when raising a flag.

“Bugle calls eliminated confusion on the battlefield,” Lakotich said. “Each bugle call was a signal of what action to take.”

Members from the Exchange Club of Shelby County attended the event and passed out small American flags to the students.