Post 555 performs flag retirement at School for Amazing Kids

PELHAM – More than two dozen 3- and 4-year-old students gathered around the flagpole at School for Amazing Kids to watch the Matthew Blount American Legion Post 555 retire a torn and tattered flag Thursday, March 16, at 9:30 a.m.

School director Tami Reed said the event was used as a way to educate the children about the importance of the U.S. flag.

“Also, we’re familiar with the lives of military families,” Reed said. “Our kitchen manager’s son is deployed right now, we have a student whose father is deployed and the owner of the school has had a family member in the military. It’s important for us to teach our students about something that is so representative of our country.”

The owner of the school, Bob Kuehner, said he wasn’t aware of the flag retirement service offered by Post 555 until post member Kenneth Paschal contacted him.

“Kenneth was driving along in his car one day and saw that our flag was tattered and he reached out to us and offered to perform a flag retirement ceremony,” Kuehner said. “I thought that it was a great idea and I’m so glad he reached out to us because I didn’t know that this was something we could do.”

Post 555 Honor Guard members Jerry McClain, Tom McDaniel, Don Colvard and Ron Gofourth performed the ceremony, which takes 10-15 minutes, and Kenneth Paschal explained each step of the process to the audience.

As the old flag was lowered, the “Retreat” bugle call played, Paschal said. 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 new 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, it’s grown to become the bugle call played when raising a flag.

Historically, bugle calls eliminated confusion on the battlefield. Each bugle call was a signal of what action to take.

At the end of the ceremony, Post 555 gave miniature flags to the students to wave as they recited the Pledge of Allegiance.