AMBOY — The Amboy American Legion Post #453 held a ceremony at 6 p.m. on Saturday as part of the city’s Independence Day celebration. The honorable retirement and disposal of flags and the honoring of World War II Veterans were included in the ceremony.
Addressing the crowd, Amboy American Legion Commander Jack Mead proclaimed, “A flag may be a flimsy bit of printed gauze, or a beautiful banner of finest silk. Its intrinsic value may be trifling or great; but its real value is beyond price, for it is a precious symbol of all that we and our comrades have worked for and lived for, and died for-a free nation of free men and women, true to the faith of the past, devoted to the ideals and practice of Justice, Freedom and Democracy. Let these faded flags of our country be retired and destroyed with respectful and honorable rites, and their places be taken by right new flags.”
Following a prayer, Amboy American Legion member Jim Hubbell lit the flags as the Legion members stood at attention.
Members of the community and Legion watched solemnly as worn or damaged flags that had been surrendered at City Hall or collected by Legion members were disposed of by burning. The Flag Code expresses that the preferred way of disposal is through a dignified manner, preferably burning, but the general public may be hesitant to perform the proper disposal. Local residents with worn or damaged flags may drop them at City Hall during regular business hours. The Legion takes possession of flags to make sure they are properly and respectfully disposed of.
The Legion then recognized the sacrifices of World War II Veterans.
Mead and Jim Fredenhagen assisted World War II Veterans Walter “Ted” Fredenhagen, U.S. Marine Corps, and George Mason, U.S. Army-Air Force, as each poured sand from Omaha Beach, Normandy, France, at the base of the flagpole to honor those that served during World War II. Native son, Tom Dempsey, brought the sand back and hoped it would be used to recognize the service personnel that fought and died in the war and on that beach 75 years ago.
The ceremony concluded with the Legion members saluting Fredenhagen and Mason as they departed the park.