FAIRFIELD COUNTY — They came for the red, white and blue, but stayed for the red sauces.
Lake Wateree Veterans of Foreign Wars Outpost 8364 hosted a flag retirement ceremony in honor of Flag Day. Afterward, there was a spaghetti dinner fundraiser.
“We’re honored to be this for the community,” said Outpost 8364 Commander Jonas Shawanesse.
Shawanesse said it felt good to be able to appropriately and respectfully retire U.S. flags for the community.
Lake Wateree VFW Outpost 8364 was supported by AmVet Post 33 and American Legion Post 195 in efforts to retire U.S. Flags honorably.
“There are a lot of organizations coming together to make this happen,” Shawanesse said.
Before the event, Kyle Brown, VFW Outpost 8364 vice commander, estimated there were several hundred flags to be retired, which would essentially double the number of flags VFW received for retirement last year.
“It might even be more than twice as many as last year,” Shawanesse said. “We’ve got a lot of flags.”
Shawanesse said the goal was to retire flags received from businesses, local governments and residents respectfully.
The flag retirement ceremony included a 21-gun salute and somber words related to the symbolism of the flag’s colors.
“I (the U.S. flag) am a precious symbol of all that you and other comrades work for and live for and die for,” said Kurt Kruger. “My red stripes symbolize the blood spilled in defense of this glorious nation, my white stripes the burning tears shed by Americans who lost their sons in battle, my blue field represents God’s Heaven under which I fly, and my stars clustered together unify the 50 states as one for God and country.”
After the ceremony, attendees, who had purchased tickets, were invited to enjoy the air conditioning of the canteen and a spaghetti dinner.
Shawanesse said the process of cooking spaghetti for 200 began at 10 a.m. Saturday.
“I was out here around 10 a.m. browning the meat,” Shawanesse said.
This was the first year the flag retirement ceremony was combined with an effort to raise funds for the local VFW outpost.
“It’s going to stay 100 percent local,” Brown said. “It’s going to help with facility improvement.”