Flag Day ceremony
Girl Scout Troop #35331 of Soledad members and Gonzales High School football players carry the folded, worn-out American flags to be retired during the Gonzales American Legion’s June 14 ceremony. (Michael Ramirez)

GONZALES — American Legion Post 81 and the American Legion Auxiliary of Gonzales hosted a Flag Day ceremony last Friday evening.

Flag Day takes place every June 14 and is a day to pay respect to the U.S. flag and its history.

A number of veterans, Gonzales community members and welcomed guests attended the event. Special guests included American Legion Commander of District 28 Lois Flint of Salinas and Monterey County Supervisor Chris Lopez. 

Assisting at the ceremony were the Girl Scout Troop of Soledad and a number of Gonzales High School football players.

Paul Guzman, past commander of American Legion Post 81, served as the Master of Ceremonies for the Flag Day celebration. Guzman discussed the significance of the flag and coordinated the proper retirement of three American flags with the help of the Gonzales Fire Department and American Legion member Steve Fellows.

Flag Day ceremony
A Girl Scout from Soledad hands a flag that will be honorably burned to Steve Fellows of the Gonzales American Legion. (Michael Ramirez)

“Three years prior to the creation of the American Legion, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation establishing June 14 as Flag Day,” Guzman said. “It also happens to fall on the birthday of the United States Army, doubling the days significance. The flag is not a political prop but is instead a symbol of hopes and dreams. The American flag is present at every official meeting of the American Legion.”

The three folded flags that were chosen to be burned were carried out of the post by the Girl Scouts and the Gonzales High athletes to the front of the building, where a fire was burning. 

The Pledge of Allegiance was recited, then one at a time the flags were presented to Fellows, who placed the flags in the fire. 

Lopez then spoke about his experience recently at the Smithsonian Institute, where he saw the original Star-Spangled Banner flag.

“That flag was massive and was a symbol to the rest of the world that we weren’t going anywhere,” Lopez said. “Just remember that no matter which form of the flag you are looking at, whether it is an inch, six inches or 40 feet across, it represents us. Honor it and hold it up.”

Flag Day ceremony
Veterans and supporters of the American Legion gather for a photo along with Supervisor Chris Lopez (second from right) on Flag Day. (Michael Ramirez)
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