Civil Air Patrol

Squadron helps with flag retirement ceremony

Eau Claire, Wis. – On lookers learned about the meaning of the flag during the flag retirement ceremony on the 4th of July at the Chippewa Valley Museum in Eau Claire.  First Lieutenant Pete Hestekin, who is from the Northwest Wisconsin Group of Civil Air Patrol, was the presenter of the ceremony. He was assisted by Cadet Chief Master Sergeant Andrea Miara and Second Lieutenant Patricia Miara from the Eau Claire Composite Civil Air Patrol Squadron.  Also in attendance was Major Rose Hunt, Wisconsin Wing vice commander.

At the beginning of the ceremony, Lieutenant Hestekin reminded those in attendance that the traditional method to get rid of a worn, torn, faded or soiled flag was to cremate the flag, but that other methods can be used.  Hestekin stated: “Today we are not burning a flag; we are retiring a symbol of America’s honor, courage and strength.  The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing.”

Lieutenant Hestekin then talked about the symbolism of the flag.  He talked about how the red stripes represent the lifeblood of the brave men and women who were and are ready to die for the United States of America, the white stripes are for purity and cleanliness of purpose, thought, word and deed, and that the blue of the star filled field is for truth and justice.  Hestekin also mentioned how the thirteen stripes are for the original thirteen colonies and that the fifty stars are for the fifty states of the United States of America.

As Lieutenant Hestekin talked about the meaning of the flag and each stripe and star Lieutenant Miara and Cadet Miara put that stripe or star into the fire.  After the flag was all cut up and put into the fire, a new flag was hung.  The audience participated in the Pledge of Allegiance.

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