HomeNewsCasey Jones Village recognizes flag retirement with ceremony

Casey Jones Village recognizes flag retirement with ceremony

Jack Claiborne was a 19-year-old boy who was a gunner on a United States Navy boat on D-Day when they stormed the beaches of Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944.

A native of Dyersburg, he now lives in Humboldt at the Veterans Home and was interviewed on World News Tonight on ABC by broadcast anchor David Muir earlier this month as part of the network’s commemoration of D-Day.

This past Saturday, Claiborne was at the Casey Jones Village’s Providence House as it hosted the largest known flag retirement ceremony in West Tennessee.

He spoke a little bit about his experience on D-Day, a turning point in World War II that changed the trajectory of the war as the Allied Powers began to win on the European front against Adolf Hitler’s Nazi powers in Germany.

“We lost 4,000 boys that day, and I saw a lot of things a 19-year-old boys shouldn’t see,” Claiborne said. “But the Lord got me through that ordeal without a scratch, and He’s been with me ever since.

“He’s with me now, and I’m going to turn 99 years old in September.”

Clairborne’s appearance was a highlight that sparked a standing ovation as he approached the microphone in front of the crowd in his wheelchair.

Claiborne was one of a series of speakers at the event, including State Senator Ed Jackson, who told the story of his own father, Ed Jackson Sr., who fought in World War II in the Battle of Iwo Jima in Japan.

Local Boy Scouts representative Dan Brooks, helped coordinate the event with Old Country Store owner Brooks Shaw.

“The flag means so much to so many people, and it truly is a symbol of freedom, justice and our country,” Brooks said. “That when it gets old and tattered, it deserves a proper retirement ceremony.”

The proper retirement for an American flag is a final ceremonial folding of the flag after a final pledge of allegiance to it, and then the flag is burned with the ashes later buried.

That is the process that happened for at least 325 flags on Saturday. After the speakers commemorated the event, attendees were invited to file to the back of the area where a pair of barrels were set up on opposite ends of a line of tables on which a number of folded flags had been laid by local Boy Scout troops.

Each person had the opportunity to deposit a flag into one of the burning barrels for retirement.

The combined ashes of the flags were going to later be buried the following day on the grounds of the Providence House.

“It really means a lot for us to host an event like this because patriotism and love for our great country is really a big part of Old Country Store and Casey Jones Village’s vision,” Shaw said. “And having a retirement ceremony for these flags is a part of that.

“A lot of the younger generation seem to not be educated on the flag, its origins, what it represents and how to be respectful to it. I hope events like this can be a part of educating some of our younger citizens for that.”

Brandon Shields, brandon@jacksonpost.news



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