10th annual flag retirement ceremony held on Memorial Day

INSTITUTE, W.Va. — In a respectful way to get rid of old, worn out flags, community members gathered in Institute for an annual Memorial Day ceremony.

The Donel C. Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery was again the meeting grounds for the 10th annual flag retirement ceremony, where hundreds of military, state, and American flags are burned in a manner of honor and dignity.

President of the Donel C. Kinnard Honor Guard, Donald Ryan said that the flags brought in have seen various U.S. conflicts and were carried by those who have fought and died for the country, and this is a way to honor them.

“First of all, our group, we honor veterans who have given the final, their lives, whether it be during active duty or at retirement,” he said.

Ryan went onto say that the flags represent what the veterans stand for.

“This flag is what they fought for and what they died for, and we do our best to honor them,” Ryan said.

Ryan said the flags are brought in by community members throughout the year, whether to the cemetery’s honor guard or various VFWs around the area.

Cemetery Director, Jamie Cochran, who introduced the flag ceremony Monday, said Memorial Day is a good day to retire these flags to as a display of the honor they leave behind.

“As a symbol of our freedom in this country, it is important to properly retire flags out of respect for what they mean to all Americans,” said Cochran.

People gave their flags over to members of the honor guard, who then placed them onto the flame one by one, saluting as they did so.

Ryan said they expected to be conducting the flag retirement all day Monday and still will not have burned all of the flags they’ve received.