GHS Navy JROTC cadets retire flags
Respect for Old Glory took center stage at Guam High School (GHS) as the Junior ROTC cadets performed a flag retirement ceremony on campus in Agana Heights Oct. 24.
During the ceremony that was hosted by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), GHS faculty, families and cadets watched with reverence as 14 U.S. flags were retired offering attendees an experience of a lifetime.
GHS Naval Science Instructor Mark Franchino said flag retirement ceremonies are not commonplace, making the opportunity to participate in such an event quite the honor.
“Doing the whole flag burning ceremony – I didn’t get to see that in 25 years,” he said. “The first time I saw it, I cried. When you’re able to expose students to a respectful, dignified ceremony that disposes of the colors in a proper way, it makes them more of a patriot, it gives them a sense of accomplishment and (they) get a better understanding for the love of our country.”
GHS JROTC Cadet Commander Mendrix Galvez said he was grateful to be a speaker at such an important event.
“I feel very honored to be a part of something so solemn,” he said. “It’s rare for cadets to witness and participate in these kinds of events.”
VFW Post 2917 Commander William Bradford said overall, the event is about paying respect to the flag.
“The flag is a symbol of our country,” he said. “It is your symbol as well as mine. I have fought and (been) injured and could have died for that flag and (cadets) haven’t gotten to that point yet, but what we’re trying to do is get them to understand.”
Bradford stressed that there must be respect for a flag from beginning to end.
“You respect it as it’s flying, but you must also respect it when you get ready to burn it,” he said. “You don’t just throw it in the fire, you’ve got to retire it the same way you started it.”
VFW Post 2917 Junior Vice Chairman Todd Crawford echoed Bradford’s sentiments and added that it is important to teach young cadets about the nation’s heritage.
“We’re forgetting about heritage a lot,” he said. “As time goes on and technology and everything else advances, we forget about the little things and a symbol of our freedom is one of those things we can’t forget about.”