CHS students learn flag retirement etiquette

Members of the Crossett High School Student Color Guard retired the school’s old flags and raised new ones in a ceremony that included direction and participation from members of American Legion Post 111 and active duty members of the military. (AMANDA ELLIS/News Observer)

 A group of Crossett High School students were given training in how to properly retire an American flag last week.

First responders and members of American Legion Post 111 joined Crossett High School Student Resource Officer Robert Black and the Student Color Guard on Friday, Sept. 10,  for a ceremony that retired the school’s flags. Black coordinated the ceremony to remove and replace the American and Arkansas flags on that day because it was the closest one to the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks that the students could attend during school hours. 

Legion members guided the students through the process as Black and the other participants united to honor the lives of the first responders lost in the attacks and the soldiers who gave their lives in defense of the country.

Black said he wanted to give the students the opportunity to show their respect for first responders and the military through the act of respectfully removing and replacing the flags, which had become worn over time. He said that police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians played a vital role in protecting United States citizens on a local level while the military protected the country on the international front. 

“We keep it safe, they keep it free,” Black said.

Captain Curtis Finney, Lt. Brian Ray, Johnathan Brockwell and Steven Smith represented the Crossett Fire Department. Students Ryan Wall and Sam Wright flanked the flagpole, while American Legion member Tony Jones and students Roemon Christian and Ashlynn Kubiak stood alongside. Legion members Steve Riva and Steven Lochala directed the students as they performed the ceremony.

 A military representative faced the flagpole and saluted as Wall slowly lowered the American flag. Jones assisted Wright in removing the flag to ensure it would not touch the ground. The other students then joined in, taking the edges of the flag and spreading it open flat one last time before they all folded it into a triangle. Kubiak handed the folded flag over to Black, who presented her with the new flag. She carried it to Wall and handed it over. 

Jones stepped in again and started unfolding the new flag with Wall before the other students each took a corner and unfurled it, holding it up as it was attached to the flagpole and quickly raised to the top.

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