It was a solemn occasion for the most part, as Kanab’s American Legion Post 69 gathered along with a handful of citizens to memorialize Veterans’ Day. The event itself was a dedicated flag retirement ceremony, with a 21-gun salute and a presentation by a series of veteran representatives. The event opened with a chaplain’s prayer, “for peace, unity and victory over the forces of aggression, intolerance and greed.” This was followed by the singing of the national anthem.
Left to right:
Joe Lamica, commander of American Legion Post 69, sets the first flag alight with the help of other veterans and their families. Photo by Ty Gant.
Veterans Day services and flag retiring ceremonies were held throughout the week at various schools. Photo of Kanab Middle School courtesy of Celeste Meyeres.
The event had a tone established early by Joe Lamica, who commands Post 69: “Our strength lay in the justice in our cause against the forces of evil … we fight not only with our bodies, but with our hearts and with our minds.” The different members of the post then rotated through in succession, with each one presenting a virtue that drives a people to take military action and to be good citizens in times of peace. Such sentiments included; “Sacrifice, tolerance, bravery, discipline. These are the solid foundations, the stone upon which a great nation is built. In our quest for honor and world peace, we must cultivate these virtues,” “Let us translate the devotion of war to a devotion to peace. Let us live for our country as well as we were willing to die for our country,” and “When in battle, we are [in uniform], as one … As we put aside the brown and blue and green that made us one people on the battlefield, let us keep in our hearts that tolerance.”
With the spoken portion of the presentation concluded, the honor guard offered a 21-gun salute, followed by Taps, and the sergeant-at-arms presenting the flags to be retired to the commanders of the post, who responded with an official “Let these faded flags of our country be retired, destroyed in honorable rites.” At that point, the veterans began to dispose of the flags by fire, and invited first the families of veterans present, then the general public to come up and participate in the ceremonies.
As the flags were retired and the formal portion of the event came to close, the tone lifted to a lighter camaraderie as the crowd was invited into the Post for cake and ice cream - in addition to the Veterans Day services, there was some celebration to be had for the anniversary of the founding of the Marine Corps earlier in the week.
The celebrations on Veterans Day followed a similar series of events the week prior, which were held in the schools throughout the county. When taking attendance of the schools into account along with the turnout at the flag retirement, Lamica described the participation in the weekend’s festivities “phenomenal.”