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Putting Old Glory to rest

More than 100 attended last week’s Flag Day observance at the Oakhurst Lutheran Church. Following the speeches by California Highway Patrol Public Information Officer Kaci Lutz, a Black Hawk helicopter pilot, and Mike Vaughn (far right), who served during the Vietnam War, more than 100 worn flags were burned. The original flag is in the Smithsonian, a little smaller because the family who had the flag gave pieces out as gifts and souvenirs.
More than 100 attended last week’s Flag Day observance at the Oakhurst Lutheran Church. Following the speeches by California Highway Patrol Public Information Officer Kaci Lutz, a Black Hawk helicopter pilot, and Mike Vaughn (far right), who served during the Vietnam War, more than 100 worn flags were burned. The original flag is in the Smithsonian, a little smaller because the family who had the flag gave pieces out as gifts and souvenirs. Special to Sierra Star

“What the Flag Means to Me” was the theme of a Flag Day observance at Oakhurst Lutheran Church last week. Speakers shared their personal stories explaining that the American flag symbolizes freedom.

The evening ended with the disposal of more than 100 tattered and worn flags, which were burned as suggested by the Flag Code.

Kaci Lutz, public information officer for the Oakhurst California Highway Patrol Office, served her country as a captain in the Army, piloting a Black Hawk helicopter prior to her current career.

She spoke of the sacrifices made by individuals and families to protect our freedom. She explained that her husband has been deployed 10 months during the past year and that she has had to take on extra parenting responsibilities in his absence.

She and her husband recently purchased a flag for their home, and they are teaching their children flag etiquette. When it rains, their 6-year-old is quick to take the flag down and bring it inside to protect it from the elements.

Mike Vaughn served as a Command Sergeant Major in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.

He spoke of the irony of the consequences of picking up a stone and throwing it through someone’s window versus the consequences of stomping on or burning the American flag in protest. The first act would be considered vandalism and could result in jail time. But there are no legal consequences for the second act, the destruction of a symbol which represents thousands of lives given to preserve freedom.

Several patriotic songs including national anthem The Star Spangled Banner, America the Beautiful, You’re a Grand Old Flag and God Bless America also set the tone for the Flag Day observance.

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