Bryn Humphrey places a flag in the fire during the Independence Day Flag Retirement Ceremony Wednesday, July 4, 2018, in Sonora. Humphrey was one of many law enforcement officers and veterans who participated in the special event to retire flags that once served the community.


KIMBERLEY MEYER | THE DEVIL’S RIVER NEWS
Bryn Humphrey places a flag in the fire during the Independence Day Flag Retirement Ceremony Wednesday, July 4, 2018, in Sonora. Humphrey was one of many law enforcement officers and veterans who participated in the special event to retire flags that once served the community. KIMBERLEY MEYER | THE DEVIL’S RIVER NEWS

A small group of people gathered in the parking lot afront the Sutton County Civic Center to participate in a special Independence Day Flag Retirement Ceremony Wednesday morning, July 4, 2018, in Sonora.

Flags of all sizes, some folded neatly in the familiar triangle, some tattered and faded, lay stacked on a table as Shannon Gill, event organizer, welcomed patrons.

The flags have flown over homes, churches, schools, businesses and other landmarks in the community. In addition, they have served in events such as parades, funeral processions and honored the final resting places of our veterans in the local cemetery.

Now, they are no longer serviceable.

Scout Leader Jerry Jimenez added, “This is the second time we have held a flag retirement ceremony like this. The last one was two years ago. In the future, we plan on having one each year.”

Cub Scout Leader Ryan Gill said the contribution of flags to be retired was surprising to him.

“We have a lot of flags,” Gill said. “Probably as many as 70 flags. And, all sizes from inches in size to the really large flags that will have to reduce in size to be able to burn. It will take some time.”

The ceremony is organized to focus on respect for the flag for people of all ages.

Following the presentation, members of the Sonora Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts handed off individual flags, one by one.

Upon placing each flag in the fire, veteran volunteers raised their hand to their forehead in salute displaying a final respectful farewell.

In addition to local veteran residents in the community, members of the Sutton County Sheriff’s Office, Sonora Police Department, Department of Public Transportation Services and U.S. Border Patrol participated in the special event.

“We retire flags with dignity and respect when they become worn, torn, faded or badly soiled,” Gill read aloud as the flags disappeared into ashes.