BY SABRINA BATES
MARTIN (September 11) – The terrorist attacks in the United States that took place 19 years ago on September 11, 2001, killed 2,977 people, 60 police officers, 8 EMTs and 343 firefighters. In the days, months and years to come, the United States would go to war in the Middle East. Since then, more than 7,000 United States troops have died and more than 53,000 have been wounded in conflicts in the Middle East.
Those were the numbers American Legion Post #55 Vice Commander Jackie Laird cited as he opened the 9/11 commemorative ceremony at the Martin Post Friday evening on the 19th anniversary of the terrorists attacks on the nation.
Laird reminded the crowd gathered outside of the Post these numbers represented Americans, asking people to never forget that day or their services and sacrifices.
The Legion Post partnered with Martin Boy Scout Troop 1776 for the “We’ll Always Remember” 9/11 commemorative event. Troop member Briley Johnson had a vision for six years to offer the community a proper flag-retirement ceremony, which paid tribute to veterans and service members.
Martin Mayor Randy Brundige and American Legion District 9 Commander David Cobb were among the guest speakers that night. Brundige reminded visitors to always remember those who lost their lives that day, while Cobb stressed America is still one of the greatest nations in the world.
As part of the ceremony, troop members gave each veteran in the audience a flag grommet from the 250 flags to be retired that evening. Johnson noted veterans were very much a part of this nation just as much as the American flag represents freedom.
“Our fallen took their last breath fighting for this nation and they should always be remembered,” Johnson said.
Troop members demonstrated how to properly fold a flag and what the 13 folds represent:
This is what the 13 folds mean:
- The first fold of the flag is a symbol of life.
- The second fold signifies the belief in eternal life.
- The third fold is made in honor and tribute of the veteran departing our ranks, and who gave a portion of his or her life for the defense of our country to attain peace.
- The fourth fold exemplifies our weaker nature as citizens trusting in God; it is to Him we turn for His divine guidance.
- The fifth fold is an acknowledgment to our country.
- The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
- The seventh fold is a tribute to our armed forces, for it is through the armed forces that we protect our country and our flag against all enemies.
- The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor our mother, for whom it flies on Mother’s Day.
- The ninth fold is an honor to womanhood, for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty, and devotion that the character of men and women who have made this country great have been molded.
- The 10th fold is a tribute to father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since he or she was first-born.
- The 11th fold, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies God for Christians.
- The 12th fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost.
- The last fold, when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national motto, “In God We Trust.”
As troop members prepared to retire the flags on display, Johnson reminded guests of the words of the country’s national anthem. First responders on duty that evening were given grilled hamburger and hot dog meals in appreciation of their service every day, but in particular, on Patriot Day. The Legion and Troop 1776 plan to offer quarterly flag retirement events, with plans under way for next year’s 20th anniversary of 9-11-2001.