American flag given final mission during retirement ceremony

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) It doesn't happen often, but when it does, it brings a crowd. Around one hundred people were at the 4th annual flag retirement ceremony at fire station three in Roanoke.

"It sets a model for the younger generation to know how it should be done and how we follow protocol," said Army veteran Bert Boyd who served in Vietnam.

Boyd says ceremonies like this are important to keep the memory of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice alive. "Honor the memory of those who have died in honor of the flag whether it's from the American Revolution to the Gulf War and the current wars going on. It's just the honor that it shows in the country and the respect we have for the flag."

However Thursday night was a little different because not every flag was retired. One flag had one final mission.

Wendy Jones, Executive Director of Williamson Road Area Business Association and event organizer was delivered a flag for retirement but knew something was different, "I knew that I had something really, really, really special at this point. I knew what I had was a 48 star flag. It is in near perfect condition and I can't retire this flag."

Jones said a woman brought the 48 star flag to be retired. She said it was her brother's from the Korean War but Jones knew it couldn't be retired so she had to give it a home that it can be seen each and every day at New Freedom Farms.

New Freedom Farms rehabs horses to eventually pair them with a veteran who suffers from PTSD and addiction. They say the news of the 48 star flag was breathtaking.

"When I saw that we were going to receive it, I was thrilled beyond belief. To have that at New Freedom Farms for our veterans to share with our veterans is truly an honor," said Vice Chairwoman and volunteer at New Freedom Farms Carol Bernstein.