Veterans work to preserve flag's meaning
To members of American Legion Post 283, Memorial Day and the American flag are sacred.
That's why some are concerned that the national holiday is losing some of its relevance with younger generations.
"It is a sad reflection on our society on what Memorial Day has become," said Jim Massengale, commander of the post located in Pickerington. "I remember when people used to remove their hat, place their hand over their heart at ball games, parades or at race tracks in reverence to the flag."
As more American Legions like Post 283 work with schools to teach students flag etiquette, Massengale hopes younger generations will see the history of the nation and the sacrifice of soldiers when they see the flag.
"The American Legion believes that at an early age, children should begin to develop an appreciation for the nation and for what the flag of the United States represents," he said. "Respect for the flag of the United States is a foundation upon which to build an understanding of the sacrifices made by the nation's forefathers and veterans."
At the end of April, members from Post 283 donated 37 flags to Ridgeview Junior High School and Diley Middle School. Within the past year, the organization also has donated all of the military service flags to Pickerington Central High School and a U.S. flag to Brice Christian School.
But the legion's dedication to the preservation of the flag is nothing new.
For years, members have assisted area residents, offering to replace old, tattered flags.
"Several times a year, the post has a dignified disposal of unserviceable flags ceremony where the flags are destroyed," Massengale said.
In honor of Memorial Day, Post 283 will hold a ceremony at 1 p.m. at the post, located at 7725 Refugee Road. The speaker will be Major General (Retired) David Hartley, and the Pickerington High School Central Jazz Band will perform.
"On Memorial Day, I hope people pause, raise the flag and say 'thank you' for the free life we are living," Massengale said.
For more information, contact Post 283 at (614) 837-0755 or go to www.alpost283.org.
Memorial Day ceremonies
Below are some of the ceremonies in honor Memorial Day happening on the Eastside May 25
Veterans of Foreign Wars
1420 Waggoner Road
9:15 a.m. at Silent Home Cemetery
10:30 a.m. at Holy Cross Cemetery
Noon at VFW post
1 p.m. at Forest Lawn Cemetery
American Legion Post 283
7725 Refugee Road
1 p.m. at American Legion post
American Legion Bexley Post
Jim Massengale on what the flag means to veterans:
"I think the best statement on what the flag means to every veteran was stated by Henry Ward Beecher in 1861."
'Our flag carries American ideas, American history and American feelings. It is not a painted rag. It is a whole national history. It is the Constitution. It is the government. It is the emblem of the sovereignty of the people. It is the nation.'
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