Downtown Kennewick holds special flag day ceremony

DOWNTOWN KENNEWICK, Wash. — On June 14th, 1777, the second continental congress approved the use of the first flag of the United States of America. A symbol of freedom, this day has been set aside to show respect to the flag.

Historic Downtown Kennewick Partnership held a special Flag Retirement Ceremony to commemorate not just Flag Day, but the first non-essential gathering since the initial state shutdowns in response to the coronavirus.

“This is a very special event for flag day, for downtown Kennewick, and for our community,” said Stephanie Button, Executive Director for Historic Downtown Kennewick.

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The ceremony was held at 12:15 pm under the bright summer sun. An invocation was delivered by Pastor Thom Fields of The Garden Christian Assembly and the national anthem was performed by Miss Tri-Cities, McKenzie Kennedy.

A special presentation about the Pledge of Allegiance and the significance of the American Flag was made by Skip Novakovich. “This is the proper way to dispose of a flag per the flag code of the United States of America that was adopted in, I think 1923,” Novakovich said.

In his speech, Novakovich recited Ruth Aperson Rous’ I am the flagThe poem looks at the importance of the American flag as a symbol of freedom from the flag’s perspective. “I was created in freedom. I made my first appearance in a battle for human liberty,” the poem reads.

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The retiring of the colors was executed by the Boy Scouts of America Blue Mountain Council. Five scouts took down the old flag, replaced it with a new one, and properly disposed of the old flag.

Novakovich spoke on the proper way to dispose of a flag per the flag code of the United States of America. “[It’s] different from a flag-burning for demonstration purposes,” Novakovich said.

“It goes back to two thousand years ago when military was in conflict, on of the things they wanted to do is not ever turn a flag over to the enemy,” Novakovich explained.  “So, rather than do that, they would dispose of a flag by burning it, rather than turn it to the enemy.”

The Blue Mountain Council scouts took the retired flag and burned it on a raised fire pit in hot embers.

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