A solemn ceremony was held at Watertown’s Ridgelawn Cemetery on Thursday afternoon. Not a burial service, but a retirement of the Star Spangled Banner which flew over Town Hall as part of the Town’s Flag Day Retirement of Colors Ceremony.
This was the second year in recent memory that Watertown’s Veterans groups held the flag retirement ceremony.
“These flags serve as a constant reminders to all of us that we live in a country where our freedom has been deeply purchased by blood, sweat, tears, and ultimate sacrifice,” said Watertown Veterans’ Agent Mark Comeiro. “To all who shall see these presents, Greetings! Know ye that these flags have served well and honorable. Their Starts and Stripes have been loosed to the winds of freedom and have basked the light of Liberty.”
Boy Scouts from Troop 30 and Cub Scouts from Pack 30 in Watertown folded the flag before placing it in a large cement urn, where the banner was douse with lighter fluid and lit on fire.
“The U.S. Flag Code reads: ‘The Flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning,” Comeiro said.
Only one flag was retired this year, but last year there were hundreds, Comeiro said.
“Last year was the first year we had done it in I don’t know how long,” Comeiro said.
Watertown is one of few communities to have a flag retirement ceremony. Veterans from Watertown and Waltham attended the event.
Mac Moran, a veteran from Waltham came to pay his respects.
“I came last year, the first year,” Moran said. “It is up to us to do. What we are trying to do is get a central place where all the towns in the area can bring their flags.”
Bob DiRico, the Cemetery Supervisor for the Watertown Department of Public Works, said the DPW would like to build a spot to hold the ceremony in future years.
“We are looking for a permanent spot,” DiRico said. “Somewhere that is not suitable to a burial.”